A Hong Kong man wanted in Taiwan for allegedly strangling his pregnant girlfriend in a case used by the territory to justify controversial changes to its extradition laws was jailed yesterday, but not for murder.
Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳), 20, confessed to Hong Kong police that he killed Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎) and dumped her body on the outskirts of Taipei last year.
Poon, who was 20 and was five months pregnant, was allegedly strangled during a Valentine’s holiday to Taiwan by Chan, who fled back to Hong Kong, which has no extradition agreement with Taiwan.
The killing sparked sympathy for Poon’s family and was used by the Hong Kong Government to advocate changing the territory’s laws to allow extraditions on a case-by-case basis to Taiwan, Macau and China.
However, the decision to include China in those proposals sparked huge protests and a major backlash within the territory’s business and legal communities, who fear that it will hammer Hong Kong’s international appeal and tangle people up in China’s opaque courts.
With Hong Kong prosecutors unable to charge Chan for murder, he was instead charged with money laundering related to his possession of Poon’s smartphone, camera and money he withdrew from her account.
A judge sentenced him to 29 months in jail.
Judge Anthea Pang (彭寶琴) said “great frustration and a serious sense of unfairness” should not overshadow the fact that the case was a money laundering prosecution, not a murder trial.
Sentencing someone for a crime they are not convicted of would mean “short circuiting” the justice system, she said.
Having been in custody since March last year, Chan has already served 13 months.
The length of the sentence means Chan would likely not be freed until after the extradition law change — now winding its way through the Hong Kong Legislative Council — comes into effect.
The government has pointed to the murder as a reason for why the law must be swiftly changed.
However, opponents fear that the territory’s pro-Beijing establishment is using the killing to push through the deeply unpopular extradition move.
They said that Hong Kong should cooperate with Taiwan directly or consider trying homicide cases involving Hong Kong permanent residents at home.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which
STRATEGIC MISTAKE: Beijing’s deployment of aircraft near Taiwan proves the ‘China threat theory’ that sees it attempting to destabilize the region, an analyst said China on Saturday and yesterday sent a record number of military aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in what analysts said was an attempt to flex its military might for US President Joe Biden. Thirteen Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Saturday and 15 entered yesterday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. On Saturday, eight Xian H-6K bombers, four Shenyang J-16 fighters and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, entered the ADIZ, while yesterday there were two Y-8s, two Su-30s, four J-16s, six J-10 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance
DISPOSING MYTHS: A new constitution would better reflect reality, as the current one was drafted ‘in and for China,’ without the consent of Taiwanese, advocates said Independence advocates yesterday launched the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance to promote drafting a new, localized constitution. “This is a historic moment for Taiwan. Drafting a new constitution is the most important task Taiwanese face,” veteran independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said at the inaugural event in Taipei. “Although the Democratic Progressive Party is in power, its authority is based on the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution, which has no connection to Taiwan,” said the 95-year-old Koo, a former presidential adviser. “The historic task of drafting a new constitution depends on efforts by all Taiwanese,” Koo said. “A constitution for a sovereign, independent Taiwan