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Taiwan asks HK to allow authorities to retrieve murder suspect (update)

ROC Central News Agency

2019/10/22 23:12:51

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) Taiwan asked Hong Kong Tuesday to grant its request to send police officers and prosecutors to Hong Kong to bring back a Hong Kong suspect wanted for murder in Taiwan after the suspect said he is willing to turn himself in to the Taiwan authorities.

Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), deputy head and spokesman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the nation's top policymaking body on China, said Taiwan made the request via official channels earlier in the day and was awaiting Hong Kong's response.

The suspect, Chan Tung-kai (陳同佳), is accused of murdering his girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎), a capital offense that makes him a flight risk, Chiu said.

Taiwan also hopes the Hong Kong authorities will provide Chan's confession and related interview records regarding the 2018 case, he noted.

Chiu expressed hope that Hong Kong will grant the request as soon as possible, since Chan is scheduled to be released from a Hong Kong prison Wednesday.

Chan is scheduled to be released after serving a sentence for stealing money from Poon's ATM and other items belonging to Poon after she was killed.

The case dates back to February 2018, when Chan allegedly murdered Poon while the two were traveling in Taiwan. Poon's body was found in a suitcase dumped in a field near a metro station in New Taipei in March of that year.

It was only after Chan had returned to Hong Kong that Taiwanese police identified him as the main suspect and sought his return to face trial in Taiwan.

The lack of an extradition treaty between Taiwan and Hong Kong made that impossible, but more recently, Chan expressed a willingness to turn himself in to the Taiwanese authorities.

The Taiwan government, however, essentially barred Chan from entering Taiwan. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government argued that Rev. Canon Peter Douglas Koon (管浩鳴) of the Hong Kong Anglican Church, who first made public Chan's intention to surrender himself, is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a political legislative advisory body to China's government.

That fueled Taiwan's belief that Chan's expressed willingness to turn himself in was fishy and had an ulterior motive.

The government suspected that Chan may be under indirect pressure from China (through people like Koon) to turn himself in as part of a politically motivated ploy on the part of Beijing to rationalize its decision to come up with a controversial extradition bill.

The decision to bar Chan from visiting Taiwan was blasted by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), particularly considering the gruesome nature of the murder.

Amid criticism, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said earlier in the day that the nation has not given up jurisdiction in the case and is preparing to exercise jurisdiction over the case.

In a statement Tuesday night, the Hong Kong Department of Justice said that it had no jurisdiction over crimes committed outside its borders, and could not legally detain a citizen following the completion of a prison sentence.

In an apparent reference to the Taiwan government's initial reluctance to lift the travel ban on Chan, the department said that it was "extremely irresponsible" and contrary to the spirit of the law for a government to refuse a criminal suspect ready to turn himself in and face justice.

However, the statement made no response to Taiwan's latest request to allow its authorities to travel to Hong Kong in their official capacities and retrieve Chan, thus increasing the likelihood that Chan will be released from prison as scheduled on Wednesday.

(By Joseph Yeh and Matthew Mazzetta)

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