The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said that the government would not lift an entry ban on a Hong Kong man wanted for murder in Taiwan, unless the Hong Kong authorities agree to share more information on the case.
Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳) is the chief suspect in the murder of his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎), while they were visiting Taiwan in February last year.
Chan returned to Hong Kong before he was identified as a suspect, but Taiwanese authorities later issued an arrest warrant and asked that he be sent back to Taiwan for trial.
However, the lack of an extradition treaty between Taiwan and Hong Kong made that impossible.
Chan was sentenced to 29 months in prison for stealing from his girlfriend, but could not be indicted in Hong Kong for murder due to lack of evidence.
After agreeing to a plea bargain, his sentence was reduced and he is due to be released from prison tomorrow.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau on Saturday said that it has been informed by Hong Kong police that Chan is willing to surrender himself to Taiwanese authorities.
Canon Peter Douglas Koon (管浩鳴) of the Hong Kong Anglican Church on Friday said that Chan was willing to return to Taiwan to assist with the murder investigation and that he would accompany him.
However, Chinese-language media reports said Koon, who is chaplain of the St John’s Cathedral, is also a member of National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and so the National Immigration Agency has barred Koon from visiting for security reasons, and Chan as well.
They need to appear in person at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Hong Kong to submit a travel application themselves and pass the screening process before the government would consider allowing their visit, the reports quoted the agency as saying.
Koon had reportedly filed an online application.
Meanwhile, the council said yesterday that Hong Kong authorities must present more evidence that the murder case is part of a bilateral judicial cooperation process, before the ban on Koon and Chan would be lifted.
The Ministry of Justice also reiterated that it has asked Hong Kong authorities to keep Chan behind bars and charge him with homicide.
Poon’s murder and the difficulty in sending Chan to Taiwan for trial was cited as one of the reasons for the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited on a case-by-case basis to Taiwan, Macau and mainland China.
Outrage over the bill triggered weeks of protests in Hong Kong and finally led the territory’s government to shelve the proposal, although that has not dampened the pro-democracy protests.
Additional reporting by AFP
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