The SAR government has rejected a request from Taiwan to allow officials to travel to Hong Kong to escort Chan Tong-kai back to the island to be tried for murder, and accused it of not showing respect.
In a strongly worded statement issued early on Wednesday morning, it called Taiwan's request "cross-jurisdiction law enforcement, which is a disrespect for Hong Kong's jurisdictional power and is totally unacceptable".
"The authority of Taiwan has no law enforcement power in Hong Kong. Chan is Taiwan's wanted person and his surrender decision is voluntary. As he will be a free man after released from jail, the HKSAR Government has no authority to impose any restrictive measures on him. He could go to Taiwan accompanied by persons of his choice," it said.
It rejected Taiwan's claim that the case should be dealt with through "legal assistance', saying that the island had handled similar cases in the past with jurisdictions where it had no legal assistance.
Chan allegedly confessed to Hong Kong police that he killed his girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing in Taipei in February 2018, before fleeing back to the SAR, where he was eventually jailed – but only for stealing her money and valuables.
On Tuesday, President Tsai Ing-wen said it was the SAR's responsibility to try Chan for murder, since he and Poon were from Hong Kong, and added that if Taipei was to try Chan, it would need to be provided with the relevant evidence gathered in Hong Kong.
However, the Department of Justice said there was insufficient evidence to press other charges against Chan, who is due to be released from prison on Wednesday and has indicated that he is willing to give himself up to the Taiwanese authorities.
The statement said that Taiwan could arrest Chan when he arrived, but would have to cancel an earlier restriction on him travelling to the island.
The government said that it would "under the legal framework and following the procedures, provide all necessary assistance" to Taiwan, adding that it had repeatedly offered to help Taiwan investigate the murder, and formally suggested sending a delegation to the island to discuss cooperating on the case.
"Yet, no positive reply was received from Taiwan," it said. "The HKSAR Government expressed disappointment over the Taiwan side's claim that Hong Kong has no intention to deal with the case. The claim does not reflect the fact."
The government also said it "strongly objects" to Taipei's irresponsible allegation that Chan's surrender decision was out of political manoeuvring.
The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, had cited Chan's case as the reason for introducing her ill-fated extradition bill, which sparked Hong Kong's worst unrest since the 1997 handover.
Govt rebuffs Taiwan proposal over Chan Tong-kai
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