Taiwanese lawyers representing a Hong Kong murder suspect at the heart of the city’s extradition bill crisis last year will talk to the authorities on the self-ruled island on Monday regarding his handover, a reverend assisting him has said.
“The lawyers in Taiwan will be in touch with the respective legal departments in Taiwan to discuss relevant issues,” Reverend Canon Peter Koon Ho-ming, who has been helping Chan Tong-kai, said on Saturday. “I shall update you all when more information comes to hand.”
Chan on Friday reaffirmed his commitment to surrender himself to Taiwan, where he is wanted over the murder of his pregnant girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing in Taipei in 2018.
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Chan fled to Hong Kong and was convicted of money-laundering offences. But without an extradition agreement, authorities could not send him back to Taiwan.
The city’s government cited Chan’s case in introducing the extradition bill, which was met with widespread opposition as it would allow for suspects to be transferred to mainland China as well. After months of social unrest, the government finally shelved the bill.
Chan was sentenced to 29 months, but was in custody before trial for 10 months, so he ended up serving 19. After his release, he was moved to a safe house managed by police, for his own safety.
Upon his release, he agreed to surrender himself but has delayed his travel plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Taiwanese authorities have said they had established a special “single window” mechanism to liaise with Hong Kong police and facilitate Chan’s transfer.
On Saturday, a spokesman for the Security Bureau in Hong Kong stressed the mechanism was a unilateral move by Taipei.
“Hong Kong police have not established the so-called single communication window. Neither will there be any assistance on evidence,” the spokesman said, adding help could not be offered due to the lack of an extradition treaty.
The spokesman said the force would help relay messages and provide assistance to Chan to the extent allowed by the law, urging Taiwan to actively play its part.
Pressure has been building for Chan to follow through on his promise. Poon’s mother recently broke her silence to question why he was still allowed to stay in the safe house.
In his message on Friday, Chan said: “I apologise to you again for what was done to Hiu-wing. I’ve never changed my idea about returning to Taiwan, I’m asking lawyers to arrange for my return to Taiwan. Don’t worry.”
Koon said Chan would have a chance for redemption and “both families can start over with a new life”.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong murder suspect who sparked extradition bill crisis reveals plan to hand himself to Taiwan authorities this month
- Hong Kong protests: murder suspect at centre of extradition bill crisis will surrender to Taiwan authorities ‘once borders reopen’
- Hong Kong murder suspect at centre of extradition bill row ‘still under police protection’