TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In the aftermath of the hippopotamus attack in Kenya which left one Taiwanese dead and another injured, China's lie about sending help has been uncovered, reports say.
Independent media reports from two prominent Taiwanese newspapers, as well as a statement from Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs refute China's claim that it provided assistance after the incident.
It has been a terrible trip for a group of Taiwanese tourists in Kenya, due to an unfortunate string of events. After the hippo attack near Nairobi on August 11, the remaining tourists were involved in a bus crash leaving 33 people injured on August 12, after their return flight to Taiwan was delayed.
After the hippo attack, the Chinese government went on the front foot, claiming via its state-run news agency, Xinhua, that "the Chinese Embassy in Kenya dispatched officials to the scene and requested the Kenyan authorities to boost security at tourist resorts to avoid attacks by wildlife." This has turned out to be incorrect.
Media investigations have revealed that China did not send any help, but rather, a Taiwanese retiree and local restaurant owner, was the only one to help the stricken tourists.
Chen Fa (陳發), a Taiwanese retiree originally from Hsinchu County (新竹縣) in northern Taiwan has been named as the main supporter of the Taiwanese tourists, as Taiwan does not have a representative office in Kenya.
Chen, a former officer of Taiwan's Overseas Community Affairs Council is known as "the folk ambassador of Taiwan in East Africa," according to the Liberty Times. He now owns a Taiwanese restaurant close to where the hippo attack took place.
Apple Daily performed an investigation into China's claim, concluding that China did not send and help, and that Chen was the main protagonist. The newspaper spoke to the head of the tour group, Shih Sheng-ting (施聖亭), who said that Chen helped with everything possible, including translation, hospital transfers and other organizational support.
CNA soon came to the same conclusion, after making contact with Chen. Chen said that the Chinese government made contact with the tour group, but the tour group said it did not need any assistance, and the Chinese embassy did not send anyone.
Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Andrew Lee (李憲章) also refuted China's claim, saying that China's statement of assistance is not a fact, on August 14.
Shih also praised Chen for his support during the bus crash, saying that he helped transport the injured to hospital, reported the Liberty Times.