Taiwanese man missing after entering HK ‘being investigated by mainland’

12-Sep-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Mainland Chinese authorities have said they are investigating a Taiwanese man who went missing after entering Hong Kong and reportedly crossing the border into Shenzhen last month.

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the mainland Taiwan Affairs Office, confirmed at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday that Lee Meng-chu was being investigated for “activities that endanger state security”, without disclosing further details.

In Taipei, the government of President Tsai Ing-wen expressed grave concern over the detention of Lee and called on the mainland authorities to provide a full account in addition to allowing Lee’s family to visit him on the mainland.

“We are deeply concerned about the detention of our national Lee Meng-chu in China and have asked the Mainland Affairs Council and relevant agencies to negotiate in full force with the Chinese side about the issue,” the Presidential Office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Mainland Affairs Council, the island’s top cross-strait policy planner, said the mainland authorities must “provide detailed information about where he was detained and why he was restricted of his personal freedom in line with the agreement on cross-strait joint efforts to fight crimes”.

“It must also officially inform the relatives of [Lee] and swiftly make arrangements for his relatives to visit him on the mainland in the presence of lawyers to uphold his judicial rights,” said Chiu Chui-cheng, the vice chair of the council.

He said the council would remain in contact with Lee’s family to offer all necessary aid.

Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation, which deals with the mainland, said it had sent three requests to its mainland counterpart, the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, for help in locating Lee since he was reported missing on August 20.

Lee was feared to have been detained after friends and family said they were unable to reach the volunteer activity organiser from southern Taiwan following his entry to Hong Kong on August 18.

Shenzhen police had previously told Lee’s family members that they did not have a record of him entering Shenzhen despite claims by Lee’s friends that he had dined with them in the city, which borders Hong Kong.

Earlier Taiwanese media reports had said that Lee was in Shenzhen on August 19, and that he may have been detained by mainland authorities when returning to Hong Kong on August 20, when his friends last heard from him.

Lee had reportedly distributed photos of mainland Chinese troops massing equipment just outside Hong Kong, where there have been 14 weeks of anti-government protests triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition bill that proposed the transfer of criminal suspects to the mainland.

Lee, who works for a volunteer group in Fangliao township, a fishing community in Pingtung county, entered Hong Kong on August 18, Taiwan’s government-run Central News Agency reported.

He apparently sent photos to his brother and to Chen Ya-lin, a Taiwanese township mayor, showing paramilitary troops and equipment on Hong Kong’s border with mainland China, the agency said.

Chen, the mayor of Fangliao, said previously that Lee was expected to fly from Hong Kong to Indonesia to meet him in Jakarta in late August but had failed to arrive.

Chen, who has been in touch with Lee’s younger brother, said he feared there was a strong likelihood that Lee had been detained in Shenzhen in relation to his support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Lee had long paid close attention to Taiwan’s current affairs and shared information about the Hong Kong protests on social media, Chen said.



Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post