Hong Kong deports 33 Taiwanese planning to join protest against extradition law

The Taiwanese travelers were members of Falun Gong

A Hong Kong protest against new extradition rules, on March 31, 2019.

A Hong Kong protest against new extradition rules, on March 31, 2019. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Hong Kong on Friday (April 26) deported 33 Taiwanese Falun Gong members planning to join the April 28 protest against a new extradition law, provoking an expression of concern from the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

Commentators have said the plans for a new law by the Hong Kong authorities might lead to local and foreign critics of China being detained and handed over to the communist country.

Just Friday, the MAC announced it had given permission to Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee (林榮基), who was once abducted by China, to stay in Taiwan for at least one month. The man reportedly mentioned concern over the new extradition law as the main reason for his move to Taiwan.

A total of 33 Taiwanese citizens arrived on the same flight in Hong Kong on April 26, but they were stopped by immigration and put on different flights back to Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported.

While the Falun Gong followers had not contacted Taiwan’s office in Hong Kong, the MAC found out about the incident and expressed its concern and regret to the local authorities. It asked the former British colony to show respect for Taiwanese arriving with valid travel documents, as well as for freedom of religion and for the right to free speech.

Hong Kong had not reacted yet to the incident and to the MAC message, according to CNA.