Sat, Feb 14, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Ex-legislative aide to wed Iraqi Kurd she met online

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY Hsu Chia-hua and Zanst, a social worker from Iraq, plan to get married in Taiwan next month, stay here and open a Kurdish restaurant

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A former legislative aide’s online romance with a young man from Kurdistan may have a happy ending, as the couple plans to wed in Taiwan next month.

Hsu Chia-hua (許家華), 32, who worked as an assistant to former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), told a press conference yesterday that her fiance, Zanst, had received help from DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) and obtained a visitor’s visa.

DIFFICULTIES

Huang said Zanst had had difficulties getting a visa because he is from Iraq, but that his chances of being issued a visa had improved after Huang provided a letter inviting Zanst to Taiwan.

Yusuf Chang (張元川), section chief of the Congressional Liaison Office at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, said the bureau would be glad to help the couple be reunited in Taiwan.

REGISTRATION

The couple plans to register their marriage in Taiwan after Zanst arrives next month, Hsu said.

Hsu said Zanst, a 28-year-old social worker living in the Kurdistan autonomous region of Iraq, planned to move to Taiwan.

He will apply for residency as a foreign spouse, Hsu said, adding that they planned to open a Kurdish restaurant.

“I already know that Taiwan is such a peaceful island and a beautiful country. I’m eager to visit Taiwan,” Zanst said in English in a prerecorded audio file Hsu played at the conference.

MEDIA AFFAIR

Hsu and Zanst’s romance gained media exposure earlier last month after Hsiao posted an article titled “The Woman In Pursuit of Love” on her blog.

Hsu took US$3,000 with her and flew 11,779km, changing flights in Bangkok, Cairo, Damascus and Amman, to visit Zanst in Kurdistan last summer.

She was forced to wait in Damascus for 20 days for an entry permit from the regional government of Kurdistan.

Hsu said she stayed at Zanst’s home for 40 days and got along well with him and his parents. On the day of her departure, Zanst wept all the way to the airport, Hsu said.

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