HONG KONG, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Wednesday rejected Taiwan's offer to send officers to escort homicide case suspect Chan Tong-kai to China's Taiwan upon his prison discharge, saying it is "totally unacceptable" because such cross-jurisdiction law enforcement is a disrespect for Hong Kong's jurisdictional power.
File photo: VCG
The rejection came after Taiwan authorities sent out statements asking to send police officers and prosecutors to Hong Kong to bring back Chan, a Hong Kong resident who was accused by Taiwan authorities of killing his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan last year.
The homicide case in Taiwan prompted Hong Kong authorities to propose amendments on transfer of fugitive offenders.
Chan was released Wednesday morning after serving prison term in Hong Kong for money laundering.
In a statement released after midnight on Wednesday, the HKSAR government said the authority of Taiwan has no law enforcement power in Hong Kong.
"We do not agree with Taiwan's claim that we can handle Chan's case in Hong Kong," the HKSAR government said in the statement, reiterating that Hong Kong's Department of Justice has thoroughly and comprehensively considered the police investigation and the evidence collected, and confirmed that there was only enough evidence to prosecute Chan for money laundering offences, and not other offenses including attempting to commit murder or the so-called "willfully plan to commit homicide."
"Making arbitrary demands to prosecutorial institution to commence prosecutions without sufficient evidential and legal bases is neither responsible nor does it accord with the principle of administration of justice. The HKSAR government's stance is clear, and has been consistent," it said.
"The homicide case took place in Taiwan. The body of the deceased, key witnesses, exhibits and relevant evidence were all in Taiwan. Without doubt, Taiwan has jurisdiction over this offense. Now that Chan is willing to surrender, Taiwan should receive him, and initiate interrogation, evidence gathering and prosecution on him," the HKSAR government said in the statement.
Chan is Taiwan's wanted person and his surrender decision is voluntary, the statement said, adding that as he will be a free man after being released from jail, the HKSAR government has no authority to impose any restrictive measures on him.
Chan could go to Taiwan accompanied by persons of his choice. Upon arrival, the authority of Taiwan can arrest him. If the authority of Taiwan is willing to handle Chan's surrender, it should immediately cancel the landing restriction of Chan in order not to contradict the warrant of arrest in force, the HKSAR government statement said.
"Now that Chan voluntarily surrenders himself, why should one still be concerned that he will abscond and destroy evidence?" said the statement.
Regarding the relevant evidence in Hong Kong, apart from those voluntarily brought with Chan, for other evidence, Hong Kong will, under the legal framework and following the procedures, provide all necessary assistance, it said.
In response to Taiwan's claim that the Taiwan homicide case should be dealt with through legal assistance, the HKSAR government considers it an excuse that has nothing to do with self-surrender, as Taiwan has handled similar cases with places where it has no legal assistance in the past.
The HKSAR government expressed disappointment over the Taiwan authorities' claim that Hong Kong has no intention to deal with the case, saying the claim does not reflect the fact.
Over the past year or so, Hong Kong has repeatedly stated that it would be pleased to provide the necessary and legally feasible assistance to Taiwan in its investigation on the homicide case, the statement said.
In March this year, the HKSAR government formally suggested sending a delegation to Taiwan for discussing cooperation arrangement on the homicide case, but received no positive reply from Taiwan, it said.
The HKSAR government strongly objects to the Taiwan authorities' irresponsible allegation that Chan's surrender decision was out of political maneuvering.
"The HKSAR government has all along done its best to bring justice to the victim. It also believes that justice can be served following Chan's decision to surrender himself to Taiwan for redemption. The HKSAR government believes that if the Taiwan side could handle the case with sincerity and uphold justice, it should be pragmatic, and stop complicating the issue. This would hopefully bring progress to the case," it said.