The Taiwanese law firm representing Chan Tong-kai, the Hong Kong murder suspect at the centre of last year’s extradition bill crisis, has finally contacted authorities on the self-ruled island about the man’s plans to surrender himself.
Chan was released nearly a year ago following his conviction on money-laundering charges brought by Hong Kong authorities unable to try him for murder due to jurisdictional issues.
Shortly after the Taipei-based law firm of Lee and Li issued its Monday statement, the mother of murder victim Poon Hiu-wing urged Chan to hurry up or lose her as a mitigating witness.
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“You are not a child any more. You are already 22 years old. Taiwan has already given you several options to surrender yourself. Why haven’t you done the procedures yet?” said Poon’s mother, who has remained unnamed.
“If you don’t board a flight to Taiwan by October 23, I will not mitigate for you.”
October 23 marks a year since Chan was released from Pik Uk Correctional Institution in Hong Kong.
He was convicted on money-laundering charges rather than murder because the killing allegedly took place in Taiwan, and thus Hong Kong courts had no jurisdiction to handle the case.
Does he need me to teach him how to make the phone calls and handle the procedures to surrender himself?
Mother of murder victim Poon Hiu-wing
Poon’s mother has said she was willing to mitigate for Chan as long as he surrendered himself as soon as possible to Taiwan, even though her family had been devastated by her daughter’s death.
On Monday, the law firm representing Chan said it had contacted Taiwanese police and the Shilin District Prosecutors Office over the surrender, but declined to offer more information.
Poon was allegedly murdered by Chan, her boyfriend, during a trip to Taiwan in February 2018, after which Chan fled back to Hong Kong.
In a bid to have Chan sent to Taiwan to stand trial, the Hong Kong government tried to pass an extradition bill that would have encompassed not only the island, but also mainland China. The attempt sparked months of protests due to local mistrust of the mainland legal system.
On Monday, Poon’s mother told Chan to apply for a Taiwan visa directly at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Admiralty rather than doing it online, since internet applications had been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Does he need me to teach him how to make the phone calls and handle the procedures to surrender himself?” the mother asked.
The Taiwanese administration has confirmed that Chan could apply for a visa at its office in Hong Kong, after the city’s Security Bureau offered to discuss his transfer via a police cooperation mechanism.
Taipei previously said it had established its own special mechanism for dealing with Hong Kong authorities, while Taiwan’s premier dismissed the prospect of Chan travelling to the island to give himself up without formal negotiations.
Hong Kong Reverend Peter Koon Ho-ming, who has been supporting Chan, previously said the 22-year-old planned to be in Taiwan within this month.
Asked on Monday why Chan would not just contact the Taiwanese government by himself through its Hong Kong office, Koon said Chan did not speak Mandarin well and did not understand the relevant procedures in Taiwan.
“Having lawyers to represent him is the most suitable way,” Koon said.
Last year, a Hong Kong court heard gruesome details of how Chan murdered Poon, who was only 19. Poon had told Chan she was pregnant, and that the father of the baby was her former boyfriend.
Chan admitted to Hong Kong police that he slammed Poon’s head against the wall, strangled her from behind with both hands and struggled with her on the floor for about 10 minutes until she was dead.
He then folded her body into a suitcase and dumped it.