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Murder suspect walks free as Hong Kong, Taiwan authorities clash

13 Comments
By Twinnie Siu and Noah Sin

A murder suspect whose case was used by the Hong Kong government to push for a controversial extradition bill walked free from jail on Wednesday as the city's authorities squabbled with Taiwan over how to handle a promised voluntary surrender.

Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong citizen, was accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan last year before fleeing back to the Chinese-ruled financial hub.

Chan, wearing a navy blue shirt and red backpack, bowed and apologized to the family of his ex-girlfriend and the public as he left the prison in Hong Kong's rural Sai Kung district after being sentenced to 29 months for money laundering.

He said he had made an "unforgivable mistake" and was willing to plead guilty and turn himself in to Taiwan for trial.

The Hong Kong government seized on the case to justify pushing through a now-withdrawn extradition bill, leading to five months of sometimes violent protests that have now evolved into broader calls for democracy.

"I hope her family can be relieved a bit and let her rest in peace," he said, declining to say when he would turn himself in.

"For the society, for Hong Kongers I can only be sorry. I hope you can all forgive me ... let me be a new person and give me the opportunity to return to society."

While Chan has offered to surrender himself voluntarily, Hong Kong and Taiwan have clashed over the next steps.

An extradition bill would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent from Hong Kong to greater China, including the mainland, Taiwan and Macau.

The government has announced it will withdraw the bill but the protests have not stopped. The city's legislature is due to withdraw it formally on Wednesday.

Hong Kong's Secretary for Security John Lee said on Wednesday that Taiwanese authorities were obstructing the case for "political reasons" and Chan should be free to go to Taiwan and surrender himself.

Taiwan has argued that his extradition without a legal assistance framework would damage Taiwan's sovereignty and put Taiwan under the "one China" framework.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be a wayward province of “one China”, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement earlier on Wednesday it was "unbelievable" that Chan could be expected to take a flight to Taiwan by himself, "completely ignoring the safety of passengers on the same flights in order to serve the political arrangement of a 'surrender'".

It said Taiwan had repeatedly asked for legal cooperation.

"We are solemnly telling the Hong Kong government that you have to take full responsibility for all bitter consequences," the council statement said.

Taiwan has also said it wanted to send officers to Hong Kong to escort Chan back to the self-ruled island upon his release, a move the Hong Kong government has described as a disrespectful and unacceptable attempt to cross legal jurisdictions.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen weighed in on Wednesday, saying Taiwan would "take care of the matter" adding there was no "such thing as surrender, only arrest".

Chan was arrested by Hong Kong police in March 2018 and authorities there were only able to find evidence against him for money laundering.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam reluctantly agreed to withdraw the extradition bill two-and-a-half months after anti-government protests escalated in June, although its formal withdrawal is unlikely to end the unrest.

Protesters are angry about what they see as Beijing encroaching on Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" formula enshrined during the handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997. That formula allows the city wide-ranging freedoms not available on the mainland, such as an independent judiciary.

The extradition bill was seen as the latest move by Beijing to erode those freedoms. China has denied such claims and accuses foreign countries of fomenting trouble.

The Financial Times, citing people briefed on the deliberations, reported on Monday China is drawing up a plan to replace Lam with an "interim" chief executive.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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What a mess. I can understand Taiwan's position and desire for recognition as being a sovereign state, yet China is never going to let that happen officially.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The murder case has nothing to do with politics, just Taiwan obessed to play their politics through a criminal case!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Hong Kong government today formally withdrawn the extradition bill.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taiwan has argued that his extradition without a legal assistance framework would damage Taiwan's sovereignty and put Taiwan under the "one China" framework.

How, exactly?

Taiwan has also said it wanted to send officers to Hong Kong to escort Chan back to the self-ruled island upon his release

Good idea. That should happen.

One way or another he should face justice in Taiwan and moreover he seems willing to do so. There was never any reason to tie this case to the entirely separate question of whether HK should have an extradition channel to a place with no rule of law, i.e. the PRC.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So Lam and her forked tongue strike again, fancy putting a country into turmoil for 4 months, then finally she has a chance to achieve what she claimed she wanted to achieve (handing the suspect over to Taiwan), but instead she set him free.

She has got to be the most despised woman in HK and Taiwan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's all here, decide for yourself .

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3005990/body-folded-suitcase-gruesome-details-emerge-hong-kong

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hong Kong should put him on a plane to Taipei, handcuffed, with a guard.

Lam is leaving. About time. Beijing's replacement cannot be allowed. Full, democratic, elections for all HK leaders is necessary. One country - TWO SYSTEMS.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That would be extradition

Hong Kong should put him on a plane to Taipei, handcuffed, with a guard.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taiwan did ask HK government a few times to get him before this whole protest fiasco begun, but HK government simply ignored Taiwan's requests.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So I understand extradition treaties are quite common, so what is all the hoopla about? If someone committed a crime in Hong Kong and escaped to China wouldn’t Hong Kong want the right to extradite?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

^ Kangaroo court.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So I understand extradition treaties are quite common, so what is all the hoopla about? 

It’s about fear of what could happen.

If someone committed a crime in Hong Kong and escaped to China wouldn’t Hong Kong want the right to extradite?

Yes, but it’s the opposite. If someone from Hong Kong committed a crime or accused of committing a crime in China, that extradition bill, now officially withdrawn but withdrawn months ago, says they would be extradited to China (how extradition works.) They are afraid that if they committed a crime in China they would be extradited to China.

But what they are really afraid is that if they are innocent but were charged with a crime, or arrested with trumped up charges of a crime, in China, then they would be extradited to China.

There is a Kafka like fear that China would use this law to arrest, detain, and imprison someone from Hong Kong who has been outspoken in his criticisms of the CCP. This was in June to August but now has somehow turned into a fight for democracy.

It is jump from a proposed extradition bill to a fight for democracy but the latter is over fear of the growing control (extradition bill) of China and what it would be like when Hong Kong is under one system with China in 2047.

The solution is to vote and veto the extradition bill. That’s the Democratic process but there are other issues including the growing discontent with high prices of real estate, the wealthy Hong Kong real estate tycoons and their close ties to China, and calls for independence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

HK is a free society, you have no worry to do any things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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