HK has right to try murder case: Taiwan

Top News | Sophie Hui 22 Oct 2019

Hong Kong should first hear the case of murder suspect Chan Tong-kai, Taiwan's justice minister says.

Tsai Ching-hsiang said a Hong Kong court should decide whether the city has jurisdiction over the case. And if it does not, Taiwan will handle it with Hong Kong under mutual legal assistance, he added.

Tsai said both Taiwan and Hong Kong have jurisdiction over the case, but the SAR should hear it first because of convenience, it has priority over the case and the feelings of the victim's family should be taken into account. He added Taiwan will provide evidence.

"The Hong Kong government should not let the murder suspect walk free," Tsai said, adding Hong Kong should continue to detain Chan, who is accused of killing girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing in Taiwan.

Sentenced for money laundering in Hong Kong, Chan is expected to be released from prison tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, Taiwan's Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung said it is against human nature for Chan to surrender himself in Taiwan, where he could face the death sentence.

Premier Su Tseng-chang said it is "very strange" that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor changed her mind about sending Chan to Taiwan as she had previously ignored the island's judicial assistance.

"Behind Carrie Lam is China," Su said, adding she would like to rationalize sending fugitives to the mainland by sending Chan to Taiwan. He urged Lam to listen to public opinion in Hong Kong and respond to people's demands.

But Kaohsiung mayor and Kuomintang presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu said there is no reason why Taiwan should not receive the murder suspect.

Chan surrendering himself and going on trial in Taiwan is defending the island's jurisdiction, he said.

Taiwanese authorities have refused to allow the suspect to enter the island, saying his surrender bid is carefully planned by political forces.

On Sunday night, the SAR government said Chan's decision to surrender is purely out of his own free will and the allegations that he has been manipulated or that it is all political maneuvering are groundless. It added there was only enough evidence to prosecute Chan for money laundering in Hong Kong.

But Hsu asked why Chan would want to be tried in Taiwan, where he may receive the death penalty.

"The accused person is a Hongkonger and the victim is also a Hongkonger. It was a Hongkonger who killed a Hongkonger," Hsu said. "And the most important thing is the accused is currently in Hong Kong. Why don't you, Hong Kong, put him on trial?"

He said the problem can be solved if Taiwan and Hong Kong establish a mutual legal assistance deal.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said the SAR government's statement failed to clear up their doubts.

The council said the timing of Chan's willingness to surrender, the background of the person who persuaded him to surrender, and other unreasonable plots, as well as the consistent statements of the SAR and mainland media, showed political forces are at work.

It said the SAR government wants to highlight that Hong Kong does not have jurisdiction when a Hongkonger commits a crime in the mainland and so the person must be put to trial in China.

The Hong Kong Security Bureau last night said Chan's surrender "does not present any obstacle in terms of legal principles and procedures." And it has nothing to do with whether there is a long-term criminal judicial assistance mechanism, it added.

The bureau said Chan will be a free man after he is released from prison and it is up to him to decide whether to go to Taiwan.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

Editorial: Swirling nonsense cripples justice

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