Fri, Jul 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

HK bookseller gains second visa extension

AFRAID OF PERSECUTION:Lam Wing-kei hopes to settle in Taiwan and has been regularly briefing the National Immigration Agency on his plans to open a bookstore

Staff writer, with CNA

Former Causeway Bay Books manager Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), who fled to Taiwan from Hong Kong in April for fear of being persecuted by China, has been granted a second visa extension so that he can find a way to settle in the nation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.

Lam’s visa was due to expire yesterday, but the National Immigration Agency (NIA) on July 15 approved his application for a three-month extension, which would allow him to stay until Oct. 25, MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said.

“We all know the situation in Hong Kong has been deteriorating, and Lam has had some misfortunes,” Chiu said.

He was referring to China’s abduction and detention in 2015 of Lam and four other people connected to Causeway Bay Books who were reportedly selling titles banned in China and shipping them to people there.

Lam was released in June 2016 and returned to Hong Kong, but was later listed as a wanted fugitive because he did not return to China to face trial.

On April 25, he fled to Taiwan, fearing that he would be extradited to China under a bill that had been proposed by the Hong Kong government and has since been “indefinitely suspended” after mass protests by Hong Kongers.

Lam entered Taiwan on a one-month visa, which was later extended for another two months.

According to Chiu, Lam is working toward gaining a long-term residency permit and wants to open a bookstore.

“We respect the NIA’s decision to grant Lam another visa extension,” Chiu said, adding that Lam has been routinely briefing the NIA on the progress of his efforts to open a bookstore in Taiwan.

Lam said that he plans to launch a three-month online fundraising campaign in September in the hopes of raising HK$500,000 (US$63,993) to open his bookstore.

“If things go well, the store might open in December,” most likely in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, he said.

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