Blocking surrender of HK murder suspect Chan a ‘DPP political maneuver’

By Chen Qingqing, Bai Yunyi and Zhang Hui Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/15 23:24:30

This photo shows Chan Tong-Kai, suspect of a homicide case in China's Taiwan, is released on Oct. 23 from a prison in Hong Kong. (Xinhua/Lu Hanxin)

 The Taiwan authority continues to let political maneuvers override justice, given its latest attempts to impede the entry request from a murder suspect, whose case triggered Hong Kong's extradition bill and months-long unrest last year, seeking to surrender, observers said, after a reverend helped Chan Tong-kai, the suspect, apply for a visa to the island, and reportedly failed. 

Such a special "single-window" mechanism urged by the island in handling the case is aimed at dealing with the case at "a state level," which would be accepted neither by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government nor the central government, observers said.

Peter Koon Ho-ming, provincial secretary general of the Anglican church in Hong Kong, went to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong on Wednesday to help Chan apply for a visa to Taiwan, Hong Kong media reported. 

The high-profile case has led to the now-withdrawn extradition bill that sparked months of social unrest in Hong Kong last year. 

Photos published by Hong Kong media showed that Koon went into the office carrying a file, and later went out with the same file. Apparently, his file was not accepted. 

Koon told the Global Times on Thursday that he went to the office for a private matter, and he declined to verify whether he was turned down in helping Chan apply for the visa. 

Some reports suggested that the Taiwan authority rejected the application, and the Taiwan island's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said as the case involves the exercise of regulatory rights and powers of both sides, it's necessary for them to discuss the relevant matters before it comes to a question of border entry. 

Koon told the Global Times in early October that Chan had hired lawyers in Taiwan to reach out to the Taiwan authorities, and expected that he could fly to the island within this month.

"The Taiwan authority has been unwilling to solve the obstacles in the judicial aspect when it comes to Chan's case, so it will continue making a lot of excuses and create trouble for it," Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs at the Tianjin-based Nankai University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Hsu Kuo-yung, an official in charge of "interior affairs" in the Taiwan island, reiterated that Chan's case can only be handled through the "special window" mechanism between Hong Kong and Taiwan authorities, and the island even criticized the HKSAR for not advancing in setting up this mechanism, according to media reports. 

Insisting on building up this window aims to bring this case to a "government-to-government" level, or to take it as "a matter of state," Lau Siu-kai, a vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

In the near future, Taiwan's separatist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority will continue using this case to make trouble for the HKSAR government in order to challenge the political authority of the government and to further smear the "one country, two systems," while fueling distrust of local residents in the island toward the mainland, Lau said.  

Chan killed his girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing in Taipei two years ago and was released from prison last October for money laundering. Carrie Lam, chief executive of the HKSAR government, said in September that she learned from Koon that Chan feels guilty and is willing to bear the legal responsibility.

The parents of Poon also mentioned in a written letter dated Thursday and circulating online to Taiwan's MAC urging the local authority to simplify procedures and allow Chan to turn himself in to the island. 

The chief of Taiwan's "executive body" Su Tseng-chang also used an excuse that the island can't allow a murder suspect to "come and go freely," to block the procedure, which also added uncertainties to the case. 

Such a passive way in dealing with the case also showed that the political value of this case has already been exploited by the Taiwan authority with barely anything left, and if it agrees to his surrender, handling the case may lead to political trouble for the authority, Lau said. 

After Chan killed Poon, he escaped to Hong Kong where he could not be charged with murder. Because there is no extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Taiwan, Chan could not be sent back to Taiwan either.

Observers pointed out that for a special situation, there will always be a mechanism to handle individual cases. "But the HKSAR government will never agree on a 'government-to-government' solution, and the central government won't agree on an arrangement that implies Taiwan is 'an independent country'," Lau said. 

"It should understand the nature of the case, which is simply the political maneuver of the DPP in putting their political interests above the rule of law and justice," he added.

The HKSAR government criticized Taiwan’s DPP authority late Thursday night saying it strongly opposed such political maneuvering. The HKSAR government spokesperson reiterated that the Taiwan authority insisted on confusing the issue regarding the mutual legal assistance between Hong Kong and Taiwan with Chan’s surrender case, showing that the Taiwan authority was not sincere in seeking justice and rule of law.


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