Kill China Hong Kong

Hong Kong killer out of reach of Taiwan's judiciary

On Wednesday morning, Chan Tong-kai left the first-time male offender prison on Hong Kong's Clearwater Bay Road as a free man. (Article image in the middle, pixelated) The 20-year-old had served 29 months - for money laundering. He has confessed to a murder. Because the act took place in Taiwan, it has so far gone unpunished. The reason is the special relationship between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Although Hong Kong belongs to the People's Republic of China, it enjoys special rights in the area of ​​justice. An extradition to the mainland as well as to Macau and Taiwan is excluded.

Taiwan, on the other hand, sees itself as a state in its own right that is de facto independent from China, but isolated on the diplomatic stage. If Taiwan were to succeed in reaching an agreement with Hong Kong on judicial assistance in the current case, it would be a diplomatic victory for Taiwan. Because it would be an official agreement like that between two sovereign states, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China / Taiwan.

Murder out of jealousy

Review: In February 2018, Chan went on vacation to Taiwan with his girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing, also from Hong Kong. They had met while at work. When Chan found out that Poon was five weeks pregnant from her ex-boyfriend, he strangled her out of jealousy. He packed her body in a suitcase, which he hid in a park.

Chan then returned to Hong Kong on February 17, 2018. He betrayed himself through multiple cash withdrawals with the card of his murdered girlfriend, whose parents had posted a missing person report. During the police interrogation, Chan confessed that he killed the missing woman. The body was found by Taiwanese authorities as stated by the perpetrator.

Ongoing protests against extradition law in Hong Kong

A legal loophole

Taiwan then applied for extradition, three times in total, knowing that Hong Kong could not allow it. A Hong Kong law prohibits the extradition of residents of the territory to "Chinese areas outside Hong Kong".

So far, the former British colony, which reverted to China in 1997, has extradition agreements with 20 countries. As an exception, extradition to a country other than one of the 20 is possible, provided that the Hong Kong parliament approves it - with the exception of mainland China, Macau and Taiwan.

Chan received a prison sentence for "money laundering" for credit card fraud. He was not charged with his actual hideous crime as it did not take place in Hong Kong territory.

Hong Kong's head of administration, Carrie Lam

The controversial extradition law

To enable Chan to be tried for murder in Taiwan, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced a change in the law in February 2019 that later became known as the "Extradition Act" and sparked mass protests. It is assumed that the legislative proposal had been planned for some time.

Neither the opposition nor Hong Kong businessmen wanted to run the risk of being extradited to a country with arbitrary political justice. The cases of people abducted or "disappeared" on the mainland, some with subsequent "confessions" on Chinese state television, are still very present. The proposed law has now been finally rejected.

Chan and Pastor Koon

Diplomatic explosiveness

With the release of Chan's on Wednesday, the case is once again diplomatic. Because he allegedly wants to face the murder charges in a court in Taiwan. Chan had communicated this in writing to Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong administrator, last week. Speaking to the press gathered at the prison, Chan affirmed, "I am ready to go to Taiwan, to face myself in Taiwan, and serve the sentence I deserve."

Koon Ho-ming, pastor of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, who said he had convinced him to take this step, was also waiting for Chan. Interesting detail: Koon Ho-ming is also a member of the Political Consultative Conference of the capital Beijing, an advisory body of the party.

Chan faces the death penalty

If convicted of murder, he faces the death penalty in Taiwan. In 2018, after a two-year moratorium, the death penalty was reinstated on a murderer of his ex-wife and children. Another 43 inmates are currently on death row in Taiwan. Is Chan's regret so great that he accepts this punishment?

The risk that it will come to this is very low. Because Hong Kong not only refuses extradition, but also any other cooperation with the judicial authorities from Taiwan. For a due process, these demand that evidence be secured and handed over by the Hong Kong judiciary to that of Taiwan. In addition, Chan must be temporarily detained again because of the risk of blackout, if necessary by officials from Taiwan.

But Hong Kong is stonewalling. Hong Kong judiciary John Lee Ka-chiu sees no reason to take Chan back into custody. Chan served his final sentence in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong judiciary sees no reason for further action against Chan: "He is a free man."

Taiwan's President Tsai: "Republic of China / Taiwan is now responsible"

"ROC / Taiwan is responsible"

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday in response to Hong Kong's refusal to comply with its investigative duties: "Now the judiciary of the Republic of China (ROC) / Taiwan is responsible." This statement is unlikely to have any practical effects.

It is now speculated that Chan's willingness to face the Taiwanese authorities is a mainland ruse instigated by Pastor Koon Ho-ming. This is a nice demonstration of how necessary a legal possibility of extradition "to other Chinese territories", including Taiwan, would have been.