By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - Fearing reprisal, several Hong Kong protestors have fled to Taiwan, local media reported on Friday.
The fleeing protestors are said to be involved the July 1 events when people broke into Hong Kong Legislative Council during demonstrations against proposed amendments to the extradition law, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.
Those reaching Taiwan are mostly students who are being aided by non-governmental organizations while some are paying themselves, the report said.
Hong Kong is witnessing protests since early July against the local government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam for proposed changes to existing extradition law.
The bill -- which proposed to legalize the extradition of the detained suspects to to mainland China, Macao, and Taiwan -- was declared “dead” by Lam after intense protests and million marches by people.
The report quoted Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen as saying that “friends from Hong Kong will be treated appropriately and on humanitarian grounds”.
“The relevant departments were aware of the situation,” Tsai said.
Hong Kong and Macao are autonomous regions under Chinese rule, while Taiwan is what China calls a breakaway province.
Taiwan, which China does not accept its independence, is about 700 kilometers (almost 435 miles) away from the shores of Hong Kong in the South China Sea.
The report added that July 1 event protesters, who mostly wore masks on their faces, “started fleeing to Taiwan three to four days after the event, and 30 of them are now scattered across the island”.
“Some protesters are in the process of applying for student visas, but are still awaiting approval. Others are seeking some form of asylum, despite Taiwan’s lack of formal refugee laws. Most protesters have received legal advice and some have met among themselves,” it added.
According to a report by independently-run Radio Free Asia, the lawyers of the fleeing protestors said that they could face jail terms of at least five years if a Hong Kong court finds them guilty of rioting.
Hong Kong witnessed massive anti-government protests on July 1, marking the anniversary of the region’s handover to China in 1997 after British colonial rule ended. Beijing looks after foreign and defense policies of the autonomous region.