Hong Kong entertainment tycoon Charles Heung’s (向華強) application for Taiwanese residency is likely to founder due to his ties to Beijing, a source connected to the national security establishment said.
Heung is chairman of China Star Entertainment (中國星). The former actor is perhaps best known for playing a supporting role in the 1989 film God of Gamblers.
Heung filed the residency application on the grounds that his wife, Tiffany Chan (陳嵐), is Taiwanese, and his family have been lobbying lawmakers to facilitate his immigration bid, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
However, national security officials believe that Heung is a potential security risk, the source said.
As a pro-Beijing celebrity in good standing with the Chinese Communist Party and a fortune in the billions, Heung has no reason to leave Hong Kong, the source said.
When China’s National People’s Congress promulgated the National Security Law in Hong Kong, Heung was one of 3,000 celebrities to sign a public statement supporting the controversial legislation, the source said.
Heung’s family has deep ties to Hong Kong’s largest criminal organization, the Sun Yee On, the source said.
Another issue is that Heung’s son Jackie Heung (向佐) is a known member of the National Committee of the All-China Youth Federation, an organ bearing a strong connection to the Chinese Communist Youth League, they said.
Writing on social media during anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong last year, Chan called for the security apparatus to ban masks, accusing the protesters of “acting like animals and demons under the cover of masks,” the source said.
Being eligible for residency does not mean the application will be granted, the source said, adding that the evaluation process protects national security and the interests of Taiwanese.
Economic Democracy Union convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) yesterday said that the government should approach the issue of Hong Kong immigrants from the perspective of defending Taiwan’s democratic way of life.
“A powerful player of Hong Kong’s entertainment world could import China’s political censorship if they are allowed to develop their career in Taiwan,” Lai said. “This has the potential to transform Taiwan’s entertainment industry in a worrisome direction.”
A spokesperson for the Taiwan-based Hong Kong Outlanders, who uses the pseudonym Justine, said that Taipei should reject the residency applications of Hong Kongers who support Beijing, or have an institutional affiliation to the Chinese government or military organizations.
“Such measures are necessary to protect the safety of Taiwanese and Hong Kongers living in Taiwan,” Justine said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) said that Taiwan must look to its national security as the nation extends its friendship to Hong Kong.
“When Hong Kongers seek immigration to Taiwan, whether it is on grounds of family or as an investor, the government should look at their record, examine their potential ties to organized crime and be mindful of the national security angle,” Fan said.
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