The Hong Kong parents of a girl murdered in Taiwan more than two years ago have urged authorities on the self-ruled island to simplify procedures to allow suspect Chan Tong-kai to surrender as soon as possible.
The appeal in a letter written by Poon Hiu-wing’s parents was released to the media on Thursday, a day after Chan applied for a visa through a reverend who has been helping him.
The Post previously learned his application was refused as Taiwanese authorities had been insisting the Hong Kong government liaise with them before Chan could seek a visa directly from the office.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
Chan, 22, is wanted over the killing of 19-year-old Poon during a holiday to Taipei in February two years ago.
Her parents appealed directly to the head of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, Chen Ming-tong, to speed up procedures.
The parents told of the huge strain their daughter’s death had placed upon them and noted the case involved not only murder but the abandonment of a corpse.
“We earnestly request Taiwanese authorities to simplify procedures and put aside the disagreements with the Hong Kong government and let Chan surrender as soon as possible,” they said.
Their expectation that justice would be served was the sole reason they could “hold on until today”.
The Post has contacted Reverend Canon Peter Koon Ho-ming, who has been helping Chan, for comment.
After Poon’s death, Chan fled back to Hong Kong, where he was sentenced to 29 months in jail for money-laundering crimes in connection with the woman’s bank account. During that trial, the court heard that he had admitted to investigators he had killed her.
He has been staying in a police-arranged safe house and has not appeared in public since leaving prison in October last year.
Despite being wanted by Taiwanese authorities, Chan cannot be sent back, given the two jurisdictions lack an extradition treaty.
His case was partly why the Hong Kong government introduced an extradition bill, but the move was greeted by overwhelming public opposition as it would allow suspects to be transferred to mainland China as well.
The administration ultimately dropped the bill but not before setting off a wider anti-government movement that pushed the city to the brink of chaos for months.
The case has worsened ties between Hong Kong and Taiwan, with each side blaming the other for failing to ensure Chan is brought to justice.
Taipei previously insisted on communicating matters about the case through a one-off special mechanism with authorities in the financial hub, who argued Chan was a free man in the eyes of the local courts.
Poon’s mother wrote an open letter late last month demanding Chan take responsibility and surrender as he had promised. She has repeated her calls multiple times through the media. Chan responded early this month in a recorded message saying he was asking lawyers to arrange his return to Taiwan this month.
But on Monday, Poon’s mother said if he delayed any longer, she would not offer testimony on his behalf.
Asked about the deadlock, council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng said on Thursday the case involved exercises of government powers and agreements on both sides were needed before Chan’s visa could be considered.
He hoped the Hong Kong government could pragmatically respond to Taiwan’ s earlier request for mutual legal assistance.
A spokesman for the financial hub’s government said the matter of Chan’s voluntary surrender and whether there was a mechanism to assist in criminal matters were two separate issues.
To conflate them showed Taiwan had political intentions in handling the case. He reiterated there was no law to allow authorities to handle a request for mutual legal assistance.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Reverend seeking to file visa application on behalf of Taiwan murder suspect snubbed by Taipei’s local office, source says
- Lawyers for Hong Kong murder suspect who sparked extradition crisis say they have contacted Taiwan police, prosecutors on surrender
- Murder victim’s mother pleads with Hong Kong, Taiwan for swift transfer of suspect following Taipei’s visa concession
- Taiwanese lawyers for Hong Kong murder suspect at centre of extradition bill crisis to discuss case with island’s authorities
- Hong Kong murder suspect Chan Tong-kai’s voluntary surrender in fresh doubt as Taiwan demands formal handover