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Protests send Hong Kongers to Taiwan in search of new lives

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan – Protests that have paralysed Hong Kong for nearly six months are pushing residents to seek new lives abroad, with many turning to nearby democratic Taiwan to escape the uncertainty at home.

Taiwan has long attracted Hong Kongers seeking an alternative to their city’s frenetic pace and sky-high rents.

But the number granted short-term and permanent residency in Taiwan rose nearly 30 per cent to over 4,000 between January and September from a year earlier, with investment from Hong Kong almost doubling.

Mr Leonardo Wong was in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung last month scouting locations for a restaurant he plans to open when he moves to the island in January.

“Hong Kong is no longer safe. You don’t know what would happen tomorrow. There are too many external forces that could change the course of things,” the 27-year-old told AFP.

“Now it feels rather like things could never go back to the way they were. We can’t see what kind of future (Hong Kong) is heading towards.”

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