Update: HK murder suspect ready to surrender to Taiwan after COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted
Published: Sep 22, 2020 12:58 PM

Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong citizen accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan in 2018, bows in front of the media as he leaves the city's Pik Uk Prison. Photo: VCG

Peter Koon Ho-ming, provincial secretary general of the Anglican church in Hong Kong, said he was ready to fly to the island of Taiwan to push forward the surrender of a murder suspect, whose case promoted the extradition bill that sparked months of social unrest in Hong Kong last year. 

Koon told the Global Times on Tuesday that due to various reasons such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the surrender of Chan Tong-kai, the Hong Kong man who killed his girlfriend in Taipei and was released from prison last October for money laundering, had been suspended for some months, and Koon wanted to fly to Taiwan to discuss the upcoming procedures with Taiwan lawyers right after the travel restrictions between Taiwan and Hong Kong are lifted. 

Koon said he was refused to enter Taiwan last year, and was not sure whether he could get a visa even after the epidemic.  

Chan has been living in a police safe house since he was released, which showed his sincerity in surrendering himself, Koon said, noting that Chan's decision to live in the safe house was also out of possible concerns that Taiwan authorities may suspect him of fabricating evidence once he was out. 

Observers believed that in addition to the epidemic, the Taiwan authority has continued to delay Koon's visa for political reasons. 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a press conference on Tuesday that the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) government is willing to offer assistance to bring about Chan's surrender. 

Lam said Chan is a free man under Hong Kong law and there is nothing more they can do under the current judicial system, while expressing sympathy and condolences to the parents of his victim Poon Hiu-wing.

Lam said she learnt from Koon that Chan feels guilty and is willing to bear the legal responsibility.

Only after Chan surrenders himself and accepts the punishment of the law can he really become a free man, Koon said. 

Chan, who was released from Hong Kong prison in late October 2019, apologized for killing his girlfriend and reiterated his willingness to go to Taiwan to surrender. Just before he was discharged, the Taiwan authorities, who had publicly refused to accept him, suddenly changed their stance and announced that they would send their law enforcement officers to the HKSAR to escort Chan to the island for trial. 

However, due to the political situation and the COVID-19 epidemic, the Taiwan authorities gave the cold shoulder to the Hong Kong government regarding communication in other aspects, said Lam, noting that the HKSAR government is willing to provide assistance after the communication between the two sides returns to normal.

Chan killed his girlfriend Poon in Taipei in 2018 and escaped to Hong Kong, where he could not be charged with murder. As there is no extradition agreement between Hong Kong and Taiwan, Chan could not be sent back to Taiwan either.

Chan's case led to a month of social unrest and violence in Hong Kong in 2019.

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