Hong Kong’s Security Bureau has denied the existence of a communication channel with Taiwan for the transfer of murder suspect Chan Tong-kai.
Taipei earlier said the Criminal Investigation Bureau of Taiwan’s National Police Agency had set up a “single window” for liaising with Hong Kong police over the case. Chan has been accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend Amber Poon in Taipei in 2018, when he was aged 19, before returning to Hong Kong.
Chan served 18 months in jail for money-laundering over valuables he took from Poon but he could not be charged for murder owing to the absence of an extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Taiwan.
His case has been attributed to triggering months of citywide unrest after the government attempted to introduce an extradition bill that would have enabled fugitive transfers to mainland China.
No ‘single window’ liaison point
In a statement released on Saturday, the Security Bureau said Hong Kong could not liaise with Taiwan on legal assistance matters because the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance did not apply to the island nation.
“There are reports quoting that Taiwan has established a so-called ‘single window’ liaison point with Hong Kong. The HKSAR government must point out that this is merely a unilateral description adopted by Taiwan,” it read. “Hong Kong police have not jointly established any so-called ‘single window’ liaison point with Taiwan and this does not involve any assistance on evidence.”
The bureau added that police had passed on the contact information of Taiwanese authorities to Chan: “The HKSAR government will provide feasible arrangements to assist Chan in going to Taiwan in accordance with the law.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council spokesperson refuted the bureau’s statement on Sunday and insisted the liaison point was set up in October last year, Stand News reported. They also criticised the Hong Kong government as failing to make any progress for nearly a year and urged for concrete action, as well as communication, as soon as possible.
Taiwan Executive Yuan Spokesperson Ting Yi-ming previously said the island had always maintained jurisdiction over Chan’s case and wished for mutual legal assistance between Hong Kong and Taiwan – a request the city rejected, according to Apple Daily.
Reverend Peter Koon – provincial secretary-general of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui – who has been relaying messages from Chan, earlier cited Covid-19 travel restrictions as the reason for the delaying his transfer.
On Friday, Koon released an audio recording from Chan in which he said he still intended to head to Taiwan and apologised to Poon’s parents again: “I will ask my lawyer to handle the arrangement for my surrender to Taiwan. Please rest assured,” he said.
According to local media, Poon’s mother said she doubted whether Chan was the speaker in the audio clip and whether he would willingly record it. She said she would rather Chan film himself than record a 23-second-long audio file.
“If you intend to turn yourself in, why have you waited until now? Are there any undisclosed facts that have kept you silent? I cannot feel relief over what happened to Amber,” Apple Daily quoted her as saying.
She added she was willing to book Chan a one-way ticket to Taiwan and arrange for his airport transportation, hence there was no excuse for further delay.
“Chan Tong-kai, I hope you will seriously reflect on your actions and own up to your wrongdoings. When you have an exact date for travelling to Taiwan, please inform us immediately.”
Chan’s father responded to an Apple Daily enquiry, saying the recording was authentic and voluntary, adding his son has felt guilt over the case. He said he would accompany his son to Taiwan.