Taiwan to legally assist Tibetan torch relay disrupter in Japan
(dpa) - Taiwan said Saturday it would provide legal assistance to a Tibetan man with Taiwan citizenship who was arrested while trying to disrupt the Olympic torch relay in Japan earlier Saturday.
"We have contacted Japanese police and will provide necessary legal assistance to Tashi Tsering. When his 48-hour detention incommunicado is lifted, our representative in Japan will visit him," Phoebe Yeh, acting spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said.
"Our representative office in Japan has already got in touch with Japanese police. The office will consult a lawyer to study Tsering's case and to provide assistance," she added.
Tashi Tsering, 38, a Tibetan refugee, came to study in Taiwan from India in the 1980s and has obtained Taiwan citizenship.
He runs a Tibetan antique shop in Taipei and sometimes organizes anti-China protests as the vice chairman of the Taiwan branch of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the India-based group fighting for Tibetan independence.
On Saturday morning, Tsering tried to snatch the Olympic torch from the torch bearer in Nagano, Japan, but was overpowered and arrested by police.
He is being detained at Nagano's central police station on charges of obstructing police.
Before Saturday's incident, some Taiwan-based Tibetans and their supporters had travelled to other foreign cities to disrupt the Beijing Olympic torch relay and condemned China's suppression of the Tibetan people.
They have China to hold talks with the Dalai Lama who has been living in exile in Dharamsala, north India, since 1959.