The mother of the murder victim whose case sparked the 2019 anti-extradition protests has repeated calls for a face-to-face meeting with suspect Chan Tong-kai outside the Central Government Offices.
The mother of Amber Poon Hiu-wing on Monday called on Chan to meet her at 11.a.m. on Wednesday to give himself up to the authorities in Taiwan, where the murder took place, via a telephone call.
“The Taiwanese government has already provided a telephone line for [Chan] to surrender… but they are stubbornly not using it and making excuses,” Poon’s mother said, referring to Chan, his parents and the government Security Bureau.
Speaking in a voice recording on the online streaming platform MIHK.TV, the mother added that Chan would have the opportunity to make the call “in front of the whole of Hong Kong.” It was unclear how such a call would work.
Her message follows reports last week that Chan was no longer staying at a government safe house and that his current whereabouts were unknown. Last Thursday Poon’s mother released an voice recording saying she was scared for her life because Chan was on the loose.
She said on Monday that police had not been in touch with her following her public appeal.
She also urged the city’s secretary for security, police chief, the provincial secretary-general of the Hong Kong Anglican Church Reverend Peter Koon, Chan’s parents and two pro-Beijing lawmakers to attend Wednesday’s meeting.
Poon’s mother also called on the Director of the China Liaison Office, Luo Huining, for his help.
Reverend Koon, who has acted as an unofficial spokesperson for Chan, said he would not attend Wednesday’s meeting, according to local media reports, saying there were no developments on efforts to extradite Chan to Taiwan.
“I believe everyone is aware that Taiwan has refused to issue an entry visa for Chan to return to Taiwan and surrender for the time being. Taiwanese lawyers have already told the relevant departments on Chan’s behalf that he is willing to go to Taiwan and surrender,” the reverend was quoted as saying.
Chan killed his girlfriend Poon in 2018 while they were on holiday in Taiwan, and returned to Hong Kong before he could be arrested there. Chief Executive Carrie Lam cited the case as a reason to push through an extradition bill which would have allowed extradition to mainland China among other destinations.
The proposal sparked mass demonstrations and plunged Hong Kong into months of city-wide pro-democracy protests and unrest.
Chan in the past has expressed a desire to return voluntarily to Taiwan following his release in October 2019 from an 18-month sentence in Hong Kong for money-laundering charges related to Poon’s murder. But he has been unable to secure a visa as the case became tangled in diplomatic disputes between Taiwan and China, which does not recognise the island’s sovereignty.
Taiwan and Hong Kong authorities have each blamed the other for the impasse in arranging for Chan to face trial in Taipei for the murder.
In an interview with i-Cable on Monday, Secretary for Security Chris Tang said Chan was a “free man” as he had already served his sentence for a crime committed in Hong Kong. The secretary added that his bureau had “no role to play” in helping arrange the meeting between Chan and Poon’s mother.
When asked whether Hongkongers risked bumping into a suspected murderer on the streets, Tang said that many convicted killers had been released from prison, and murderers “were also people who needed to lead their daily lives.”
In what it said was a response to the 2019 unrest, Beijing in June 2020 imposed a national security law on Hong Kong which has since been used to arrest 154 people, 96 of whom have been charged. The majority have been denied bail pending trial.
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