A Taiwan lawmaker has said human rights organisations on the island are helping a Hong Kong activist who failed to appear in court to face rioting charges.

Lee Sin-yi, 18, was absent from previous court hearings over alleged involvement in last year’s Mong Kok clashes, and an arrest warrant has been issued. Her lawyer has been unable to reach her since January 12.

Huang Kuo-chang. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

She was confirmed to have entered Taiwan on January 6 but there was no departure record. Hong Kong tourists can stay in Taiwan for 30 days, therefore Lee has been overstaying. However, Taiwanese authorities have not been able to reach her. No asylum application has been filed.

Last week, there were reports claiming that Lee sought help from the Taiwanese independence-leaning New Power Party. The party has not made any public statement, saying only it has no knowledge of the incident.

But Huang Kuo-chang, the party’s lawmaker, revealed further information at the establishment event of the Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus on Monday.

The Mong Kok unrest, February 2016. Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

“Personally I don’t know much about the case, but my personal understanding is that some Taiwanese human rights organisations are providing assistance to a Hong Kong friend,” he said.

Asylum rules

When asked about changes in law to allow a mechanism for Hong Kong people to apply for political asylum in Taiwan, Huang said the caucus will push for a legal amendment.

“This is a very important political agenda. Through amendments to the ‘Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong & Macao Affairs,’ we can have more legitimacy on legal grounds,” he said.

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

Establishment of the Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus. Photo: Ray Chan, via Facebook.

The 18-member caucus consists of Taiwanese legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the New Power Party.

Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers Nathan Law, Ray Chan and Eddie Chu, as well as activists Joshua Wong and Alex Chow, attended Monday morning’s establishment ceremony in Taipei.

Huang added that the caucus will not only discuss issues of democracy – it will also exchange views with Hong Kong lawmakers on matters of youth, land distribution, urban development and gender.

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.