Taipei, July 25 (CNA) Former Causeway Bay Books owner Lam Wing Kee (林榮基), who fled to Taiwan from Hong Kong in April for fear of being persecuted by China, has been granted a second visa extension so that he can find a way to settle in the country, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday.
Lam's visa was due to expire Thursday, but the National Immigration Agency (NIA) on July 15 approved his application for a three-month extension, which would allow him to stay until Oct. 25, said MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正).
"We all know the situation in Hong Kong has been deteriorating, and Lam has had some misfortunes," Chiu said.
He was referring to China's alleged abduction and detention in 2015 of Lam and four other individuals connected to Causeway Bay Books, who were said to be selling titles banned in China and shipping such books to people there.
Lam was released in June 2016 and he returned to Hong Kong but was later listed as a wanted fugitive because he did not go back to China to face trial.
On April 25, he fled to Taiwan, fearing that he would be extradited to China under a controversial bill that was being considered by the Hong Kong government and has since been "indefinitely suspended" amid fierce outcry by the Hong Kong people.
Lam entered Taiwan on a one-month visa, which was later extended for two months.
According to Chiu, Lam is working toward gaining a long-term residency permit in Taiwan and wants to open a bookstore, which will take some time.
"We respect the NIA's decision to grant Lam another visa extension," Chiu said, adding that Lam has been routinely briefing the NIA on the progress on his efforts to open a bookstore in Taiwan.
Lam told CNA Thursday that he planned to launch a three-month online fundraising campaign in September in the hope of raising HK$500,000 (US$64,195) to open his bookstore.
"If things go well, the store may open in December," most likely in Taipei's Ximending shopping district, he said.