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Supporters demand student\'s release

Supporters demand student\'s release

A group of National Taiwan University students protested at the Legislative Yuan and the Mainland Affairs Council Office yesterday demanding the release of Lee Chien-cheng, a Political Sciences major who is currently being detained in Hong Kong for social misconduct while attending the protests at the World Trade Organization conference held there.

Group members claim they were with Lee at the protests and insist that Lee acted peacefully and has been wrongly arrested.

Accompanied by various activist groups, the students demanded authorities "get Lee out of Hong Kong before he is convicted." Lee was accused of social misconduct along with thirteen other captives at an opening trial on Monday night.

The MAC said three designated attorneys were defending Lee's case, and in addition had asked the cardinal of the Hong Kong parish to pay Lee's bail.

The students and activists further asked the MAC to pledge that it would take full responsibility for Lee by rescuing him and paying for the counsel fees.

According to Huang Chien-liang, vice director of the Bureau of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs under the MAC, the bureau has contacted officials in Hong Kong to figure out what might be done to free Lee without interfering with the judicial system in Hong Kong.

Huang added that Lee's father will fly to Hong Kong to visit Lee today.

"Lee's situation may take some time to clear up, since officials in Hong Kong have informed us that Lee allegedly attacked the police when he did not understand what they were saying, which is probably why he was captured," said Huang. "We must ask those who care for Lee to be patient and let the authorities handle this."

Huang added that the MAC, upon hearing the news of Lee's capture, established a special squad to investigate the matter. While in Hong Kong, the director of the Hong Kong Affairs Administration visited Lee on Monday and provided him with warm clothing.

However, the students and activists were unsatisfied that Huang was not able to make an open pledge to rescue Lee, and denounced MAC officials as "incompetent" and "cowardly."

Lee's friends and fellow club members pointed out to the government officials that he was a peaceful and composed youth who had a deep concern for Taiwanese society and has been active in social activities since his first year at NTU.

"We were there (at the WTO conference) to take photos and document those voicing the unfairness of the WTO," said Kuan Cheng-yin, Lee's colleague in the NTU news club who was also detained at the protests. "We did not take any violent action," added Kuan.

Notes written in support of Lee were posted on the NTU bulletin board system. "Lee had doubts before he set off for Hong Kong," said one written by Lee's classmate, "but he still embarked on the trip because he said that the voice of opposition (to the WTO) must be heard."

Lee is the last remaining in custody of the 12 Taiwanese social activists captured by the Hong Kong police force on December 18. If convicted, Lee may face a fine of NT$21,500 plus three years in prison, according to the Hong Kong public security statute.