A WOMAN who said she is a former Taiwanese spy was finally sent back to her home country on Saturday, over a month after first being detained by authorities in Newport.
Emily Yeh, who lived in Home Office accommodation on Chepstow Road from July 2012, has since been arrested by the Taiwanese military intelligence service and is awaiting a trial which could see her given a maximum five-year sentence.
She is currently being held at a detention centre in Taichung City, western Taiwan. It is understood she can be held without charge for two months.
The 33-year-old’s case has been well publicised in the country and is being featured prominently by Apple Daily, a popular tabloid newspaper.
A video on the paper’s website shows a handcuffed Ms Yeh being led through photographers and press on landing at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. She is shown to walk to a car with a coat on her head.
She made three appeals to stay in the UK, all of which were rejected.
But it has emerged she was so drained by her detention, she made an application to return voluntarily to Taiwan on January 7.
Helen Aesa, who campaigned with friends to keep Ms Yeh in the UK, said she was in constant contact with her until the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying the former spy left Heathrow at 11am on Saturday.
She said Ms Yeh was told at 2.30am on Saturday to get ready to leave and was taken from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire at 5.15am.
Ms Yeh had been held at Yarl’s Wood since December 16 and by the UK Border Agency since December 10.
Her belongings remain with Ms Aesa, who cleared out the Chepstow Road accommodation two days after Ms Yeh had been detained last month.
Ms Aesa said: “A book has to go to someone, a CD to someone else.” Ms Yeh’s solicitor Mike McGarvey said her removal was “very, very disappointing”.
He had made an application for asylum for Ms Yeh last week but it was refused on Friday afternoon.
Mr McGarvey has spoken to Ms Yeh’s mother, Wendy. He said she was “very upset and crying a lot”.
During her time in Newport Ms Yeh had been an interpreter for the Welsh Refugee Council as well as working as a volunteer for the Oxfam charity in the city and studied cookery at Coleg Gwent.