《TAIPEI TIMES》 HK suspect should be arrested: Tsai
Murder suspect Chan Tong-kai, second left, accompanied by Anglican priest Peter Koon, right, leaves Pik Uk Prison in Hong Kong yesterday. Photo: Bloomberg
‘NO ISSUE OF SURRENDER’: The Hong Kong government is putting people’s lives at risk by allowing suspected killer Chan Tong-kai to travel alone on an airplane, the MAC said
By Wu Cheng-ting, Chung Li-hua and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporters, with staff writer
Hong Kong murder suspect Chan Tong-kai （陳同佳） is a wanted fugitive, not a backpacker, so he should be arrested and not be allowed to “turn himself in,” President Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday, urging the Hong Kong government not to sidestep the issue.
Chan is suspected of murdering his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing （潘曉穎）, in Taiwan in February last year.
In April, he was sentenced by a Hong Kong court to 29 months in prison for money laundering after he used Poon’s bank card to make automated teller machine withdrawals.
He was released yesterday.
Taiwan would not give up its jurisdiction over the case, and if the Hong Kong government is unwilling to exercise its jurisdiction and seek justice for the victim, then Taiwan would “handle it,” Tsai told reporters at an event in Kinmen County to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Guningtou.
Chan is wanted by Taiwan, the president added.
“In this case, there is no such thing as an issue with an individual backpacking tourist, only arrest,” she said. “There is no issue of surrender.”
Over the past few days, critics have said that the government is “too weak,” or that she does not care about justice, Tsai said.
“Everything we are doing now is serving justice,” she said, adding that the government is also upholding its sovereignty.
The government would continue to ask the Hong Kong government to provide legal assistance, especially in providing important evidence, Tsai said, urging the Hong Kong government not to ignore the requests.
The Mainland Affairs Council （MAC） yesterday issued a statement calling the Hong Kong government’s decision to let Chan travel alone to Taiwan “bizarre.”
The Hong Kong government first gave up its own jurisdiction and then neglected Taiwan’s requests, the council said.
It even proposed letting the suspect travel to Taiwan on an airplane on his own, “completely ignoring the safety of the passengers on the flight just to achieve the political purpose of letting the suspect ‘surrender,’” it said, adding that the territory’s government is “letting Hong Kong turn into a criminal paradise where murderers can travel around.”
The Hong Kong government has said that the suspect is “willing to surrender, meaning if the suspect is unwilling to surrender, the Hong Kong government does not care if he is at large,” the council said.
A responsible government should not let the victim’s family “have nowhere to turn to about the injustice perpetrated against them” it said.
Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Co quoted Peter Koon （管浩鳴）, an Anglican clergyman, as saying that Chan had originally purchased a ticket to fly to Taiwan yesterday morning.
However, Koon said the plan was canceled because Taiwan did not allow him and Chan to enter the nation, the broadcaster said.
The Hong Kong government yesterday issued a statement saying that Taiwanese authorities have no right to enforce the law in Hong Kong.
After his release from jail yesterday, Chan is a free man and the Hong Kong government has no right to impose any forced measures on him, the statement said.
Chan can choose who accompanies him to Taiwan and Taiwanese authorities can arrest him after he arrives, it said.
If Taiwan is willing to handle Chen’s surrender, it should cancel its restrictions on his entry, it said.
“Since Chen is willingly surrendering, what suspicion is there over [him] escaping or destroying evidence?” it said.
MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng （邱垂正） on Tuesday night said that Taiwan urges the Hong Kong government to think about the potential consequences of setting Chan free.
President Tsai Ing-wen comments on the case of Hong Kong murder suspect Chan Tong-kai yesterday in Kinmen County, where she was attending the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Guningtou. Photo: Wu Cheng-ting, Taipei Times