Group vows to fight entry ban on Korean worker

By Sun Hsin Hsuan, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR, 台灣人權促進會) said on Tuesday it plans fight an order barring South Korean workers who protested against their parent firm in Taipei from entering the country. TAHR said it would request a constitutional interpretation of the 3-year banning order against 73 employees of Hydis, a South Korean subsidiary of Taiwanese firm YFY (永豐餘).

The Hydis employees, who claim they were illegally laid off, were banned following a protest outside YFY’s headquarters in June, 2015. “We believe that foreigners in Taiwan should enjoy the same rights to assembly and parade as Taiwanese nationals,” TAHR Office Director Yen Sih-yu (顏思妤) told The China Post on Tuesday, calling the court order “absurd.” The request came after the Supreme Administrative Court rejected TAHR’s appeal against a lower court decision which supported a National Immigration Agency edict barring the South Korean workers on grounds they “jeopardized public safety.” The protesters have demanded that YFY reverse its decision to close the Hydis factory, and rehire the employees. At the 2015 protest, demonstrators hung banners and held a memorial service outside the YFY building to mourn a union representative. The protesters claimed the representative died in part due to intense public pressure after YFY defamed him. Sentence Overturned The Taipei City Police Department Zhongzheng First Precinct handed down a NT$2,000 fine to eight South Korean demonstrators and forced them to leave the country immediately, citing violations of the Social Order Maintenance Act in 2015. But the decision was overturned by the Taipei District Court later in 2015. TAHR’s Yen said “the National Immigration Agency orders should have been invalidated after the punishments were overturned, as that was the foundation of its argument … but instead it edited its report, and claimed that it was the Immigration Act they (the Hydis employees) breached.” A review committee under the National Immigration Agency was charged with investigating the case. But Yen accused the committee of a lack of transparency, saying meetings of the committee were closed-door and that meeting minutes released after a TAHR request had were a “simplified version.” Yen said TAHR was demanding that the National Immigration Agency clarify on what grounds the government was “deny peaceful demonstrators the right to enter the country.” On whether the TAHR planned to organized another round of protests, Yen said given “almost no Hydis protestors can come to Taiwan … it is very hard for us to arrange a demonstration large enough to draw public attention to pressure the government.”