HK protesters warned not to flee to Taiwan illegally - RTHK
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HK protesters warned not to flee to Taiwan illegally

2019-12-09 HKT 12:59
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  • The New York Times reports that some Hong Kong protesters are paying fishermen to take them to Taiwan. Image: Shutterstock
    The New York Times reports that some Hong Kong protesters are paying fishermen to take them to Taiwan. Image: Shutterstock
The Mainland Affairs Council in Taiwan has urged Hong Kong's anti-government protesters not to attempt to escape to the island or live there illegally.

Its comment comes after the New York Times reported that more than 200 young demonstrators have fled to Taiwan since the start of the anti-extradition movement in June, citing lawyers, pastors and other supporters who have sponsored and helped Hongkongers plan their escapes.

The demonstrators were either flown to Taiwan and arranged to stay in safe houses, or took the sea route by paying fishermen as much as US$10,000.

Many of the protesters were reportedly afraid of being arrested or charged with rioting, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. Others, who had already been arrested and charged, were worried that they wouldn’t be treated fairly in the SAR's courts or may face abuse while in detention.

In response to the New York Times report, the Mainland Affairs Council said while it is highly concerned about democratic and human rights developments in Hong Kong, there's already a well-established mechanism in place to assist Hong Kong and Macau citizens whose safety and liberty are undermined.

It warned people not to attempt to challenge Taiwan laws by entering and seeking refuge on the island illegally, adding that it will step up patrolling its waters to clamp down on human smuggling.