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MAC welcomes 'positive step' taken by HK government

ROC Central News Agency

2019/09/05 21:48:44

Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top policymaking body on China, on Thursday welcomed the decision by Hong Kong's government to withdraw an extradition bill that has caused nearly three months of protests in the territory.

The MAC made the statement a day after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam formally withdrew the proposed bill which would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to China, Taiwan and Macau for trial.

"Hong Kong's government has finally taken a positive step in meeting its people's expectations," MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said at a press conference.

While recognizing the move by the Hong Kong authorities, Chiu also called on the financial hub's government to talk to its people, respond to the demands of protesters and fulfill its commitment to safeguard freedom and democracy.

The deputy minister was asked about a murder case in Taiwan involving a Hong Kong citizen that remains unsolved, as the two sides do not have an extradition agreement and the territory has shown no willingness to send the suspect to Taiwan for trial.

In response, Chiu said the case could be considered a "one-time" exception, noting that Taiwan filed three requests for legal cooperation in 2018 and one this year, with no response from the Hong Kong authorities.

Chan Tung-kai (陳同佳), a Hong Kong man suspected of murdering his girlfriend while on a trip to Taiwan in February 2018, is currently serving a 29-month sentence on money laundering charges, but could be released as early as October.

The case was one of those cited by the Hong Kong government as it sought to push through the controversial extradition bill.

As to how Taiwan's government will handle Hong Kongers who seek political asylum, Chiu said relevant government agencies will handle such cases in accordance with the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau.

As to verifying Hong Kong asylum seekers' eligibility and their subsequent resettlement, Chiu said Taiwan will refer to international practices.

Taiwan's government will pay close attention to developments in Hong Kong and if necessary, Hong Kongers in Taiwan will be provided with humanitarian assistance, Chiu added.

Taiwan will also do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety and rights of Taiwanese living or traveling in Hong Kong, he said.

(By Miao Zong-han and Chung Yu-chen)

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