The latest attempt by the "second most wanted" Tiananmen dissident to surrender to mainland authorities was dashed yesterday when he was deported back to Taiwan after a short stopover in Hong Kong.
Wuer Kaixi arrived at Chep Lap Kok from Taiwan accompanied by Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan hoping the city would help to extradite him to the mainland.
Wuer, who has spent most of the past 24 years in exile in Taiwan, wants to return to the mainland to see his ailing parents.
"I hope to be [re]united with them while they are still alive, even if it means the reunion takes place behind a glass wall," he said.
He is wanted by Beijing for "conspiracy to subvert" while a student leader during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
"I am transiting from [Hong Kong] because it is my last resort," said Wuer in a written statement. "What I'm doing now is a result of the [mainland] government's absurd act of ordering my arrest, while at the same time refusing to allow me to return."
Wuer said a refusal by the Hong Kong authorities to arrest him would mean they did not accept Beijing's official position.
"If that is so, I appreciate it … and I then request the Hong Kong government to stop denying [other] Chinese dissidents the right to enter."
Upon arrival, Wuer was detained by immigration officials and questioned for four hours, said his lawyer, Lam Yiu-keung.
The department said it would not comment on individual cases but reiterated that by law officers could examine any visitor on arrival and consider whether they met immigration requirements before allowing entry.
But Lam criticised the department for misreading his intentions. "He never requested entry and had no intention of entering Hong Kong," said Lam. "He simply wanted to convey a message to the Hong Kong government to inform the [Hong Kong liaison office] of his intentions."
Over the years similar attempts by Wuer to surrender via Macau, Japan and the United States have failed. In 2004, he was permitted to attend the funeral of Canto-pop diva Anita Mui but a request to attend the funeral of democrat stalwart Szeto Wah was denied in 2011 in Hong Kong.
On Facebook, exiled Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan, who was denied entry to Hong Kong in 2004, said he was "disappointed and angry" at the city's decision.