Hong Kong Becoming ‘Criminal Paradise’: Taiwan Lashes Out at Lam

Hong Kong Becoming ‘Criminal Paradise’: Taiwan Lashes Out at Lam(Bloomberg) — The war of words between Hong Kong and Taiwan is heating up as a murder suspect at the center of months of unrest in the financial hub was released from jail.Chan Tong-kai, who admitted in court to killing his girlfriend in 2018 while on a vacation in Taiwan, was set free on Wednesday and bowed deeply in apology after some brief comments. He was jailed on a related money-laundering charge after Hong Kong determined that it lacked the evidence to prosecute him for the more serious offense in Taiwan.Chan’s case led to months of increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong after Chief Executive Carrie Lam cited it to introduce deeply unpopular legislation that would allow extraditions to China. The unrest has also spurred animosity between Lam, who was elected to her current position by a committee dominated by Beijing loyalists, and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, whose party favors independence from China.Now squabbling between Hong Kong and Taiwan over jurisdiction, sovereignty and legal technicalities makes it unclear if Chan will face justice for the murder. Hong Kong wants Chan to board a plane and fly to the island to turn himself in, while Taiwanese authorities want to send law enforcement officers to escort him.“Its publicly stated support for the suspect to take a flight to Taiwan totally ignores the safety of the other passengers on board the same flight,” the Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei, which manages the island’s relations with China, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Allowing the suspect to turn himself in is a political goal that will, in the long run, turn Hong Kong into a criminal paradise where murder suspects can roam freely. It is incredible.”Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Twitter that Lam refused judicial cooperation to send the suspect back and stand trial. The tweets, signed with the initials of Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, accused her of releasing Chan to justify Hong Kong’s extradition legislation, and reiterated that the island isn’t part of China.Earlier Wednesday, the city’s government said Taiwan’s plan to collect Chan showed “disrespect for Hong Kong’s jurisdictional power and is totally unacceptable.” Chan was a “free man” who could travel as he pleased, it said, adding that Taiwan authorities can arrest him once he arrives. Hong Kong’s government ultimately answers to authorities in Beijing, who view Taiwan as a Chinese province.Taiwan in 2016 arrested three murder suspects at the request of Hong Kong and allowed police officers from the city to collect them, Wang Ting-yu, a senior Taiwanese lawmaker from Tsai’s ruling party, said on Twitter.Later Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed a question about the case, saying it was “not a diplomatic matter” since Beijing considers both jurisdictions part of China. “Hong Kong’s government will deal with it appropriately,” Hua told a news briefing in Beijing.After he was released from prison, Chan apologized for the “irreversible mistake” he made and for the pain he caused the family of the victim, Poon Hiu-wing.“I am willing to return to Taiwan to face sentence and trial for my recklessness and mistake I made,” Chan told reporters. “To society and the Hong Kong people — sorry.”(Updates with Chinese foreign ministry statement in ninth paragraph)\–With assistance from Adela Lin, Miaojung Lin and Peter Martin.To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Chinmei Sung in Taipei at csung4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines