/How Five Hong Kong Protesters Escaped by Speedboat, Found Freedom in the U.S. – The Wall Street Journal

How Five Hong Kong Protesters Escaped by Speedboat, Found Freedom in the U.S. – The Wall Street Journal


TAIPEI—As five men cut through the vast waters of the South China Sea in an inflatable speedboat, they kept a close watch above and behind them for signs of pursuit.

They had set out from Hong Kong that morning under blue skies, with only iPhones and a compass to guide them across hundreds of miles of open sea to Taiwan. As they steered into deeper waters, waves jolted the vessel, sending life jackets overboard and knocking some of them off their feet.

The five, whose ages ranged from 18 to 26, barely knew each other before they set off in July 2020. They were all fugitives from Hong Kong, fleeing what they considered to be unfair prosecution and inevitable prison sentences for their roles in pro-democracy protests in 2019.

Months after reaching Taiwan, all five eventually made it to the U.S. to seek asylum, after the U.S. State Department got involved.

This account of the only group confirmed to have journeyed to freedom by boat is based on interviews with three of the men. Those three were on the run from Hong Kong authorities at the time of their escape, with two of them charged and facing possible multiyear prison sentences. The circumstances of the remaining two men on the boat couldn’t be determined.

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