Hong Kong, Taiwan signal openness to cooperation on Chan case

2019/10/23 23:29:56 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Hong Kong, Taiwan signal openness to cooperation on Chan case

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Following the release Wednesday of a suspect wanted for murder in Taiwan, the Hong Kong government opened the door to cooperation between the two sides, while defending its handling of the case.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng (鄭若驊) said Hong Kong would cooperate with Taiwan's requests for evidence in the case of Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳), if the requests met the necessary legal standards.

Chan, who has offered to turn himself in to Taiwanese authorities to face trial, would be allowed to take evidence in his possession to Taiwan if he decided to go, Cheng said.

She maintained, however, that the Hong Kong government did not have jurisdiction over the murder case, under its Prosecution Code.

Cheng believed that Taiwan has jurisdiction because the crime occurred in Taiwan and most of the evidence is in Taiwan.

Chan is wanted in Taiwan for the alleged murder of his girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎) in February 2018.

He was serving a sentence for stealing money from Poon's bank account after he returned to Hong Kong, but was released Wednesday, as efforts to bring him to Taiwan to face trial stalled due to political factors and the lack of an extradition treaty.

Meanwhile, a legal expert told CNA on Wednesday that the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top agency responsible for China policy, should hold consultations with the Hong Kong government to resolve the Chan case.

Despite the lack of a formal extradition agreement, protocols exist to facilitate the handover of criminal suspects between Hong Kong and Taiwan, such as transferring them at airports or even on airplane jet bridges, the expert said.

In the event that Chan returns to Taiwan, he will likely be arrested upon arrival at the airport, before being transferred to the Shilin District Prosecutors Office for questioning, the expert said.

Taiwan Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) also sought to keep the Taiwan government's options open on Wednesday, denying that Taiwan was effectively refusing to allow Chan to turn himself in by not granting him a visa, as alleged by the Hong Kong Department of Justice on Tuesday night.

Hsu said that while Chan was restricted from applying online for a Taiwan visa due to his wanted status, he could apply in person.

"At no point has Taiwan issued a ban of Chan's entry to the country," Hsu said.

On Wednesday night, the MAC made a more active bid to encourage Chan to return to Taiwan, saying that the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) had established a single point of contact, which it had asked the Hong Kong government to provide to Chan.

"If Chan confirms his intention to come to Taiwan to face justice, he can reach the contact person directly, and make relevant arrangements," the MAC said.

(By Chang Wei-chiang, Wu Po-wei, Liu Shih-i, and Matthew Mazzetta)
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