Hong Kong murder suspect willing to face trial in Taiwan: reports

Hong Kong,  A Hong Kong man suspected of killing his girlfriend during their trip to Taiwan in 2018 has said he is willing to fly to the island to face a murder trial there, according to Hong Kong media reports released on Friday.

The suspect, Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳), released an audio recording Friday in which he again apologized to the parents of the girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎), for killing her and told them he has always intended to go to Taiwan to turn himself in.

Chan said he will have lawyers arrange the trip to Taiwan, and told Poon’s parents, “please, do not worry.”

The recording was broadcast by Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) of Hong Kong, which also reported that lawyers will begin to arrange Chan’s trip to Taiwan on Oct. 5. It is expected to happen this month, the report said.

The audio recording was said to have been provided by Rev. Canon Peter Douglas Koon (管浩鳴) of the Hong Kong Anglican Church, who has been helping with issues related to Chan turning himself in.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong online media O1 reported Friday that Chan has asked his lawyer in Taiwan to contact the relevant authorities about his surrender and that he felt he could made the trip to Taiwan in October.

According to the report, Chan thanked Poon’s mother for being willing to plea for leniency in his favor if he turned himself in and faced a trial.

During recent interviews with Hong Kong media, Poon’s mother urged Chan to make clear when he will go to Taiwan to turn himself in.

Poon’s mother also said that if Chan did not make the trip by Oct. 23, a year after he was freed from prison after he was jailed for stealing money from Pan, she would do something more than appeal, the report said.

Chan, who was 19 at the time of the murder, was suspected of killing his 20-year-old girlfriend Poon when the pair were traveling in Taiwan in February 2018.

Poon’s body was found in a suitcase dumped in a field near a subway station in New Taipei after Chan returned to Hong Kong.

He has since been listed as a suspect in the murder by Taipei prosecutors, who eventually issued an arrest warrant and sought his return to face trial in Taiwan.

The pursuit of Chan was difficult, however, given the lack of a mutual legal assistance arrangement between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong tried to introduce an extradition bill that would have allowed criminals in Hong Kong to be extradited to China, Taiwan or Macau, but it triggered massive opposition because of fears people could be extradited to China without due cause.

Taiwan also opposed the now-withdrawn extradition bill, saying it viewed Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China on a par with Hong Kong and Macau and wanted a separate deal similar to those Hong Kong has signed with 30-plus countries around the world.

In Hong Kong, Chan was released from prison on Oct. 23, 2019 after serving a 29-month sentence for stealing money from Poon’s account using her bank card after he returned to the city.

Hong Kong has consistently maintained it cannot prosecute Chan on murder charges because the key evidence is in Taiwan.

In September this year, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters her administration had no legal grounds to do something about the Chan case since he was already free.

She also said she did not see any good way for the Hong Kong government to help get Chan to face trial in Taiwan, because there were communication problems between Hong Kong and Taiwan on other issues, implying some Hong Kong requests were not answered by Taiwan.

On Friday, the Shilin District Prosecutors Office, which is in charge of the Chan case, said it has not yet received any information on the suspect’s desire to turn himself in. But it is “optimistic” that Chan will do so, the office said.

Meanwhile, Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), a spokesman for the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s top government agency handling cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, told CNA that it has not received any word on the case from the Hong Kong side.

But a communications channel has been established between Taiwan’s police authorities and their Hong Kong counterparts, and any information will come through there, Chiu said.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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