A Hong Kong man accused of of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan will surrender to Taipei authorities after being released from jail, according to officials. Chan Tong-kai’s case led to the controversial extradition bill being proposed by the territory’s government.
Reverend Peter Koon Ho-ming confirmed on Friday that Chan, who allegedly killed his pregnant girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing, when they were on holiday in Taiwan last year, had agreed to surrender after lengthy talks. Koon said Chan was remorseful and wanted to take responsibility for his crime, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
Chan returned to Hong Kong and was later convicted of money-laundering after being convicted of stealing money from her by using her ATM card. He is currently serving a 29-month prison sentence and could be released by next Wednesday.
Koon said Chan understood that he would be facing a 10-year jail term in Taiwan but nevertheless wished to take responsibility for his actions.
Citing Chan’s case, the Hong Kong government initiated consultations in January that led to the proposal of an amendment to the extradition bill in February by the Legislative Council, as there was no pact between Hong Kong and Taiwan allowing for the surrender of fugitives.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Chegn Yeut-ngor had also asked the Legislative Council to pass the amendment by July, to enable Chan to be extradited to Taiwan to face a murder charge.
The proposed law would have allowed for the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions Hong Kong does not have extradition arrangements with, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macau. This raised serious concerns over the potential for politically motivated persecution and unfair trials within Beijng’s jurisdiction. This sparked massive rallies that have plagued the city over the past four months. Lam eventually withdrew the bill in September.
Sing Tao Daily reported on Friday that Reverend Peter Koon Ho-ming had persuaded Chan to return to Taiwan.
The report said Chan hoped his surrender could help alleviate the social turmoil arising from his arrest and conviction.
It added that Chan’s family were worried that he would be given the death penalty in Taiwan.
Koon told Ming Pao Daily that to assuage Chan and his family’s concerns, he had arranged for a lawyer in Hong Kong to explain to them how the judicial system and prison conditions work in the territory.
Chan and his family later agreed to the arrangement. When Chan is released from jail next Wednesday, he will, according to the agreement, spend a short period of time with his family before surrendering himself to Taiwan.
No date for his departure from Hong Kong has been confirmed.
Meanwhile, the vice-chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said he would call on HK Chief Executive Lam to initiate an independent investigation into allegations of police abuse and misconduct involving 20 CUHK students outside the existing mechanisms.
In an open letter to CUHK teachers, students and alumni, Rocky Tuan Shug-chi said he condemned police officers’s alleged rights abuses.
Tuan called on the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to constructively address these demands, “for only the truth can bring justice to all.”
A week earlier, the university had a face-to-face chat with students behind doors for two hours. Some of them were arrested during the anti-government protests. Before that, it also held an emotional and chaotic open dialogue session with hundreds of students, staff and alumni in a lecture hall on the same day.
After a two-hour meeting, Tuan said he recognized that the university might not have done enough for its students and that he had heard “loud and clear” the words from his students, which troubled him.
He said the university had reached out to more than 30 students who had been arrested, to determine what exactly they had gone through during their arrest and detention.
He said he heard that many people were not able to contact their lawyers or families, and some had to wait as long as 78 hours to make a phone call. Others were forced to give police statements without a lawyer.
Some were not allowed to sleep or lie down, and others said they were not allowed to have access to the medication they needed.
Some students said they were slapped in the face and two others were forced to strip naked – after being told there was no need for such a search.
He said these were far from iiolated incidents, adding that felt “sad and anguished” to hear of the physical and mental pain his students had suffered.
“I cannot over-emphasize that, irrespective of why our students were arrested, the police should ensure that the rights of the arrested must not be infringed upon during arrest and detention,” Tuan said.
Tuan said he and the university staff were in close contact with the student who alleged sexual assault by police officers as she had been under tremendous pressure. He urged the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) to take prompt action to investigate her case, “preferably with IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Council] scrutiny.”
Tuan said the university was willing to help students file formal complaints, but understood that some were unwilling to take this step, “due to their anxiety towards the police or distrust of the CAPO and the IPCC.” He said that was why he would write to the chief executive to call for independent investigations for his students, outside the existing mechanisms.
“Any proven case of improper use of force or violations of human rights by certain police officers must be condemned,” he said.
Tuan also said he has stepped up campus security, and had set up a “rapid response task force” to help address emergency situations.
Kong Wing-cheung, acting chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Bureau, said at a press conference on Friday that he had noted the statement issued by the vice-chancellor of the CUHK, said he could not found any basic information regarding the claims made by the students.