Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has called on Hong Kong to either try murder suspect Chan Tong-kai itself, or hand over to Taipei the relevant evidence in the case, saying it is the SAR’s responsibility to deal with alleged crimes committed by Hongkongers.
Chan has allegedly confessed to killing his girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing in Taipei in February last year, before fleeing back to Hong Kong, where he was jailed for stealing her money and valuables.
Even though he has offered to surrender himself to Taiwan after his release on Wednesday, Taipei has made clear it will not take him in unless Hong Kong offers full judicial cooperation in the case, including providing the island with all relevant evidence gathered in the SAR.
Speaking to reporters in Taiwan, Tsai said both the suspected murderer and the victim are Hongkongers, and the SAR simply cannot, and should not, dodge its responsibility in the case.
Earlier, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang explained that sufficient evidence must be handed over to Taiwan for it to launch a proper trial, saying Taipei cannot simply allow a person believed to be a serious offender to enter the island like any other tourist, adding that Chan is not just “going to Taiwan for a body check”.
But the island’s former president, Ma Ying-jeou, argued that it is the Tsai Ing-wen government which is politicising the matter. He said he’s “very sad” over Taipei’s decision to reject the surrender of Chan and accused Tsai of giving up Taiwan’s jurisdiction over the case.
He also accused the Taiwan leader of letting the family of the victim down.
Ma’s comment very much echoed Hong Kong’s acting Chief Executive, Matthew Cheung, who urged Taiwan not to complicate matters and put politics over justice.
Speaking to reporters before attending the weekly Executive Council meeting, he said Taiwan has included Chan on its wanted list that will be effective for 30 years, and any other jurisdiction in the same position would have jumped at the chance of having the suspect turn himself in.
“We are talking about somebody who is willing to surrender himself and can get back to Taiwan to face trial and also to ensure justice is done. I think it is common sense that we try to accede or try to provide every facilitation on that score," he said.
"I really hope that the Taiwanese authorities won’t complicate a simple issue, and also do not try to exploit politics in order to achieve a certain gain at the expense of justice”, he said.
But Democratic Party lawmaker James To, who had visited Taiwan on Sunday, said Hong Kong needs to liaise with Taipei to find a way to cooperate over the case, instead of arguing.
"If you step in the shoes of the Taiwan authorities, Hong Kong police have not cooperated with them, have not delivered any evidence to them, have not informed them of their investigation, how can the Taiwan side trust them?," the lawmaker asked.