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HK suspect wanted for murder reiterates wish to surrender

2019/10/23 11:12:53

HK suspect Chan Tong-kai

Hong Kong, Oct. 23 (CNA) A Hong Kong citizen wanted in Taiwan for murder reiterated on Wednesday his desire to surrender himself to Taiwan authorities after he was released from a Hong Kong prison earlier in the day after serving a sentence for a separate crime.

Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳) said he deeply regretted his misconduct and was willing to turn himself in to Taiwan authorities to facilitate the investigation of the death of his late girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎).

"I am willing to turn myself to the Taiwan side to take responsibility over the wrongdoing I committed at the spur of the moment and face trial and possible jail time," he told reporters in Hong Kong outside the prison upon his release.

He later left the scene accompanied by Rev. Canon Peter Douglas Koon (管浩鳴) of the Hong Kong Anglican Church, who first made public Chan's intention to surrender himself last week.

Koon, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body to China's government, said previously he would accompany Chan when he turns himself in to Taiwan.

Chan was released after serving a sentence for stealing money from Poon's account with her ATM card and other items belonging to Poon after she was killed.

The case dates back to February 2018, when Chan allegedly murdered Poon while the two were traveling in Taiwan. Poon's body was found in a suitcase dumped in a field near a metro station in New Taipei in March of that year.

It was only after Chan had returned to Hong Kong that Taiwanese police identified him as the main suspect and sought his return to face trial in Taiwan.

The lack of an extradition treaty between Taiwan and Hong Kong made that impossible.

When Chan, through Koon, expressed a willingness to turn himself in to Taiwanese authorities, it offered a potential opportunity to break the deadlock, but Taiwan's government has essentially barred Chan from entering Taiwan on political grounds.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government suspects Chan has come under pressure from China through Koon to turn himself in as part of a politically motivated ploy to justify a Hong Kong extradition bill that has been widely opposed in the former British colony.

The bill was eventually withdrawn after months of protests in Hong Kong.

Critics of the government have argued that it is playing politics with justice and abandoning a woman who was brutally murdered, and that its fears of creating a bad precedent are unjustified.

The government seemed to reverse course on Tuesday when the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's top agency responsible for China policy, suddenly was open to taking Chan back, but only if accompanied back to Taiwan by Taiwanese police and prosecutors.

The condition was not accepted by Hong Kong.

(By Stanley Cheung and Joseph Yeh)
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