Man who damaged glass doors at governor’s office seeks refugee status, official says

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THE homeless man who damaged the glass doors at the governor’s office wants to be granted refugee status, the governor’s senior policy, advisor, Robert Hunter said.

Shanguo Zhang, 43, was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and criminal mischief on June 30.

Two and a half weeks ago, Zhang was at the governor’s office where he spoke to administrative personnel, Hunter said. “I was asked if I could talk to him.  Originally, it was thought that he'd lost his job and needed assistance,” he added.

“He did not come in as a worker and never worked [on island]. He came in as a tourist for the specific purpose of protesting the Chinese government,” Hunter said.

“He told me that he had a hearing on the 11th for his refugee status (he later told me that this was postponed to the 22nd or 23rd and after that, he said it was postponed to a future date.

“He wants refugee status. He wants housing, food, and an onward ticket to Amsterdam and Ecuador so that he can continue his activities. He believes that it is his right as a ‘refugee’ under United States law, to be given these things. He also asked that his cellphone number be covered,” Hunter said.

He added that Zhang also said he needed a job.

“I told him that we could in no way help him find a job, as it would be illegal for him to work here with his current status, but that I would reach out to organizations to help him with food. I told him that there is only one airline flying right now and that is United.  I told him that the best I could do with the airlines is, when Asian airlines resumed flying, I could write to them and ask them if they could help for humanitarian reasons.” 

Hunter said Zhang told him that he could not fly through China or Hong Kong, and if possible he would like to go through Japan first and Korea second. 

“He told me that he needed to get to these places to continue his effort to protest the Chinese government.”

Zhang  was protesting against the Chinese government in front of the doors of a restaurant in Garapan, Hunter said.

But Zhang told Hunter that “the owner and three staff forcibly removed him/assaulted him.”

Zhang ended up being detained. “He originally told me ‘arrested,’ but later clarified,” Hunter said.

He added that Zhang was then referred to Karidat and the Empty Vessel Ministry so he can receive food.

“Zhang got kicked out of the apartment he was sharing by his roommate and wanted to stay at EVM, but EVM staffers told Zhang that he cannot stay there. He agreed to be dropped off somewhere.

“On the following days, we noticed he was at or around the administration building every day,” Hunter said.

“He was told that he could not loiter in the building, but that he could use an electric socket located at the building to charge his devices. I was asked to relay that message to him and I did.  At that meeting, he told me that he was staying at the Capital Hill baseball field dugout and that his USCIS ‘refugee status’ hearing had been postponed.

“He began protesting by the side of the road at the administration building.  He had a sign claiming that the U.S. and CNMI governments were not providing him with justice and that he needed food.  I spoke to him at some point on one of these days.  He said that he'd gone to the court to get a report he needed to sue the police who are ‘controlled by the Chinese.’  He said they told him there was no report.  He asked for a free attorney and was told that they don't provide free attorneys.  He says he was instructed to go to the Capital Hill administration building.  I don't know if they were trying to tell him to go to the AG’s office or Micronesian Legal Services.  I gave him directions to the MLS.  He left and was back protesting about three hours later, so I don't know if he went to MLS and returned.

“He had sent me a slew of long messages about the ‘Chinese Communist government,’ but last Monday, his message had inserted into it a threat.  He said that he is thankful for the help he has received, but that on Tuesday (the next day), he would be breaking in the doors of the administration building to bring attention and get arrested.  He also let me know at the end of that message that he also needed his cellphone covered as it was a necessity to him.”

Hunter said he called the Department of Public Safety commissioner for advice.

DPS sent officers who interviewed Zhang and then took him in, Hunter added. 

On June 30, after being released, Zhang came to the administration building, Hunter said.

“He went to the mailroom and got a heavy ceramic tile and began smashing in the front-door glass.  When I came down to see what the commotion was about, he had smashed the glass on both doors and was sitting on a chair in the lobby, smiling and waving.

“I don't know what Mr. Zhang's true story is.  It may be what he has told.  If that is the case, then he came here to protest without the resources to take care of himself, and believes mistakenly that the federal and local governments are required to provide him with his list of things….”

Zhang was arrested by the police after he was identified as the person who cracked the glass doors at the governor’s office on June 30 around 3:39 p.m. The damage amounted to a total of $588.

Variety learned that Zhang has a pending immigration case and his passport is currently with the Enforcement Immigration Removal Office.

Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan on Thursday’s bail hearing remanded Zhang to the custody of the Department of Corrections. He was ordered to return to court on July 9 at 1:30 p.m. for a preliminary hearing and on July 13  at 9 a.m. for his arraignment.

Zhang is facing a maximum punishment of six to 12 months’ imprisonment and a fine of not more than $1,500.




November 2020 pssnewsletter

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