Taiwan authorities have said a Hong Kong activist who failed to appear in court to face rioting charges entered Taiwan in January and has apparently remained on the island ever since. No asylum application has been filed.

Lee Sin-yi, 18, was missing from previous court hearings for alleged involvement in last year’s Mong Kok clashes, and an arrest warrant has been issued.

The National Immigration Agency of Taiwan’s public relations director Hsu Chien-lin told HKFP in a phone call that Lee entered Taiwan using a tourist visa in January, and there was no departure record.

Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

Since the tourist visa will expire in 30 days, Lee is now overstaying in Taiwan. Hsu said Taiwan authorities have not contacted her.

The Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan’s government said that there has been no asylum application. It said it will handle the case in accordance with law, and in accordance with rules if it discovers any case of Hong Kong residents overstaying in Taiwan, Ming Pao reported.

The Council also told the newspaper that it supports Hong Kong’s values of freedom, democracy and human rights.

Andrew To Kwan-hang, a director of the New School of Democracy, told the newspaper that the School’s staff members had mentioned Lee’s case to him in mid-January.

At the time, he was told members of the New Power Party of Taiwan mentioned Lee sought help from the party to stay there, as she had already arrived in Taiwan.

The School acts as a platform for communication between Hong Kong and Taiwan activists, and often hosts events in both regions.

Andrew To. File Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

See also: Mong Kok unrest: Defendants claim they were stripped, kicked, and threatened by police

The New Power Party has made no public statement over the alleged connection, only saying to local media that it has no knowledge of the incident.

There is no agreement to transfer fugitives between Hong Kong and Taiwan. In the past, top Hong Kong police officers who were accused of corruption in the 1970s have stayed in Taiwan for decades, and some died there.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.