Taiwan Can't Revoke Deportation of S Koreans in Hydis Case, Court says

Taiwan Can't Revoke Deportation of S Koreans in Hydis Case, Court says

What you need to know

A court in Taiwan has ruled it cannot revoke a decision by immigration officials to deport a group of South Koreans who were on hunger strike in protest against a Taiwanese company.

The Taipei High Administrative Court today ruled against a South Korean employees union in its lawsuit against Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency (NIA).

In June 2015, eight employees from South Korean firm Hydis were deported from Taiwan after being arrested during a hunger strike. The group was protesting a Taiwanese company's decision to close its factories in South Korea, which was expected to lead to job losses for hundreds of locals. They were later barred from entering Taiwan for the next three years and were not present during the court proceedings.

The Court said today that it cannot revoke the decision to deport the eight South Koreans because the group had already been deported and that fact could not be changed. It also ruled that the eight workers had entered the country under reasons that were different from their stated purpose.

In a statement released after the ruling, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) accused the Court of depriving the group of the right to defend their freedom. TAHR noted that throughout the court proceedings, the Hydis employees were denied the right to be present. Despite multiple appeals to have the NIA's ruling temporarily lifted, the Court said the proceedings could be handled in writing or by a proxy.

The association also slammed the NIA for using different laws to cover up what it says were unfounded charges against the South Korean workers, adding that the agency denied the group's right to peaceful assembly and protection under Taiwanese law.

Workers from the Hydis factory — a South Korean company owned by the Taiwanese E Ink Holdings (EIH, 元太科技) — first came to Taiwan in February 2015 to protest EIH’s decision to close two Hydis factories.

The employees union says EIH stopped funding Hydis' production after acquiring its LCD manufacturing technology.

EIH, a subsidiary of Yuen Foong Yu (YFY Group,永豐餘), acquired Hydis in 2008 from China’s BOE Technology. YFY promised to maintain Hydis' operations in South Korea, but instead has laid off hundreds of workers in the years following its acquisition.

The Hydis employees who came to Taiwan held candlelight vigils and went on hunger strikes. The group’s leader, Bae Jae-Hyoung, committed suicide after reportedly receiving threats from EIH.

On June 9, 2015, the group was arrested by Taiwanese police and sent to a detention center where they were allegedly interrogated. They were deported a day later.

The South Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor ruled on Aug. 9 that EIH’s layoffs were illegal, disputing EIH’s claims that there were operational difficulties.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: Olivia Yang