Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee has received permission to stay in Taiwan for two more months after fleeing to the island in April.
Lam was originally granted a 30-day visa, but delays in his travel plans meant he only had 20 days left when he touched down on April 25, according to the Taiwanese authority on cross-strait affairs.
Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, confirmed that Lam’s visa had been extended to a total of three months.
The authorities have not yet received any residency applications from Lam, Chiu said, adding that any such applications would be dealt with according to Taiwan’s laws and procedures.
Lam told the state-backed Central News Agency that he was “thankful for Taiwan’s concern,” and he would continue to seek employment on the island with the help of friends.
As one of the five booksellers associated with Causeway Bay Books, Lam went missing from Shenzhen in October 2015, only to re-emerge on a Chinese television channel months later “confessing” to crimes.
Last month, Lam said he was worried about the Hong Kong government’s extradition proposal, which would allow the city to accept extradition requests from jurisdictions without any prior agreement – most notably mainland China.
Lam became a wanted man in the mainland after he skipped bail and reappeared in Hong Kong in 2016. Fearing that he would be transferred back to the mainland, Lam fled the city last month.
Speaking at a forum on Monday, Lam added that he would “never return to Hong Kong” because he no longer trusted the government; the current state of the debate around the extradition bill was also a factor, he said.
Lam suggested that he may move to Tokyo if the application to extend his visa in Taiwan was denied.
Asked if he wanted to reopen Causeway Bay Books in Taiwan, Lam said he was in no hurry and he was waiting on investors to make a decision, with a possible alternative being crowdfunding.
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