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NTU student back in Taiwan after Hong Kong detention

Lee Chien-cheng released on NT$440,000 bail after WTO protest

NTU student back in Taiwan after Hong Kong detention
A National Taiwan University student, Lee Chien-cheng, who was arrested and had been detained by the Hong Kong police since December 17, returned to Taiwan late last night after he was released on bail following a court hearing in Hong Kong yesterday.

Hong Kong's Kwun Tong Magistracy yesterday held a hearing for 14 people, including Lee, who were arrested and charged with illegal assembly during last week's anti-World Trade Organization protests. The court yesterday decided to adjourn the case to December 30.

The other 13 detainees were released on bail of HK$2,500 each. However, all of them, except Lee, were required by the court to surrender their travel documents and remain in Hong Kong.

Lee was allowed to return to Taiwan after posting bail in the amount of HK$102,500 (NT$440,000.)

Lee's father, who went to Hong Kong to support his son, said immediately after the hearing that he was happy about the ruling and deeply appreciated all the efforts that were made to secure his son's release.

However, upon arrival at Kaohsiung International Airport, Lee and his father declined to make any comments.

One of Lee's teachers at NTU, Huang Chang-ling, who also went to Hong Kong to offer support to the student, said she was relieved at the court's decision. She cited remarks by the student's attorney that his release could be mainly attributed to two letters - one from NTU President Lee Si-chen (李嗣涔) and one from Huang herself.

Huang said the letters described Lee as a temperate and mild person who would not engage in violent activities, and urged the judge to let him return to NTU as soon as possible to resume his studies.

The ruling, however, did not pacify Lee's supporters in Taiwan, who continued their protest and claimed that without concrete evidence to support the prosecutor's accusation, Lee should have been freed without having to pay bail.

The protesters, including Lee's fellow students at NTU, social activists, and members of the general public, let off firecrackers and burnt an effigy of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Tsang Yam-kuan to symbolize the "flame of war" that will be continue to be carried, despite Lee's release.

The protesters also said that it was "humiliating" that Lee should have to pay such a high bail in order to return to Taiwan, and vowed to continue their demonstration until the Hong Kong authorities acquitted Lee of all charges.

Chanting "justified in opposing violence," the protesters clashed with the police for the second time in the past two days.

NTU Chief Secretary Fu Li-cheng said last night that Lee's attorney in Hong Kong had reminded the student that he would be on bail until the case resumes on December 30 and should maintain a low profile on his return to Taiwan.

The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday also released a statement urging the Hong Kong authorities to deal with Lee's case in a just manner as soon as possible. The council also promised to continue to assist when the hearings resume in the Hong Kong court.

According to the statement, Lee's bail was posted by Catholic Bishop Joseph Zen and by the president of a Hong Kong-based Taiwan benevolent association, Lin Tieh-mao.

Lee, a senior in NTU's Department of political science, was the only Taiwanese among the 14 protesters arrested by the Hong Kong police. The group included 11 Koreans, one Japanese, and one Mainland Chinese citizen. If convicted, they would face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


Updated : 2020-12-04 12:43 GMT+08:00