Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) quoted a source on Sunday as confirming reports that five Hongkongers who attempted to reach the island by boat have been detained there.
Just a day before, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council had refused to confirm or deny claims that the five had been held in the southern city of Kaohsiung for almost two months.
Earlier media reports said the five, who were said to have taken part in anti-government protests in Hong Kong, were intercepted by the Taiwanese coast guard as their boat drifted near the Dongsha Islands.
Taiwan journalist Edd Jhong, who said he had been trying to help the five flee to the island, claimed that they had not been allowed to contact their families or lawyers.
Jhong warned Hong Kong's "frontline" protesters that they should not attempt to make their way to the island, despite the Tsai Ing-wen administration's promise to offer assistance to those fleeing Beijing's crackdown on dissent in the SAR.
CNA's source on Sunday confirmed the detentions and said there had been no word on the five being released, but added that they would not be held under "house arrest" as some reports had indicated.
The news agency also quoted the source as saying that the five had been granted access to lawyers, and reports that they were being held incommunicado were wrong.
In response to the Taiwan reporter’s claims, Hong Kong's Security Bureau said on Sunday that it had received no information from Taiwan about any such detentions.
The bureau said all jurisdictions should cooperate against cross-border crime and it is an internationally recognised obligation to stop suspects from fleeing.
It called on other jurisdictions not to harbour suspects who may have committed crimes in the SAR, and to send them back to Hong Kong.
The apparent detention of the five Hongkongers in Taiwan comes as international pressure grows on Beijing over the arrest of 12 SAR residents by the Guangdong coast guard last month.
The 12, who were also trying to reach Taiwan by boat, are being held in Shenzhen, with the Foreign Ministry on Sunday describing them as "separatists", leading to speculation that they could face charges under national security laws.
News agency confirms Hongkongers held in Taiwan
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