Sat, Dec 24, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Student protester released on bail

RETURN LATER The trial of Lee Chien-cheng, a student who was arrested during the WTO talks, was postponed until Dec. 30 and he was allowed to return to Taiwan

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

The Taiwanese student arrested by Hong Kong police during an anti-WTO protest last week was released on HK$102,500 (US$132,217) bail and was allowed to return home, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman David Huang (黃偉峰) said yesterday.

The next court appearance of the National Taiwan University (NTU) student, Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠), who was expected to return to Taiwan late last night, was scheduled for Dec. 30.

A Hong Kong court yesterday opened the trial of Lee and 13 other demonstrators from South Korea, Japan, and China, who were all charged with illegal assembly and have been detained since Dec. 17.

The court decided to postpone the hearing for a week upon the request of prosecutors, saying they need more time to collect evidence, Huang said.

The 14 detainees were granted bail of HK$2,500 each with a restriction on departure prior to the next court appearance, but Lee was allowed to leave Hong Kong by paying an additional HK$100,000, the council said.

According to a council official who spoke on condition of anonymity, HK$40,000 of Lee's bail was paid from the council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office's budget and the rest from office head Pao Cheng-kang's (鮑正鋼) private funds.

Unlikely the governments of Japan, South Korea, and China, Taiwan hired Hong Kong lawyers to defend Lee, the official said.

While the lawyers have helped Lee pro bono since Dec. 19, they started to charge fees yesterday. The official said that NTU has already agreed to pay all Lee's legal expenses.

Lee's arrest in Hong Kong has stirred up indignation among Taiwanese students. Dozens of college students began a sit-in in front of the university's main gate on Wednesday to protest Lee's arrest and detention.

The students urged the Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to respect the principles of democracy and human rights.

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