Hong Kong authorities want to extradite a 19-year-old local man to Taiwan to face justice after killing his girlfriend and stuffing her body in a suitcase during a trip to the island last month.
The suspect, surnamed Chan, an associate degree student from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, admitted during interrogation by Hong Kong police on Tuesday that he killed his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing, 20, a student at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, and stuffed her body in a suitcase which he later dumped near a metro station in Taipei.
However, Chan was only charged with two counts of theft and one count of handling stolen goods after he confessed using Poon’s ATM card to withdraw NT$20,000 (US$683) in Taiwan on Feb. 17 and HK$8,500 (US$1,084) in Hong Kong on Feb. 20.
That’s because the killing happened in Taiwan, which does not have an extradition agreement with Hong Kong.
Even if Chan is tried in absentia in Taiwan, he could very well avoid punishment for the murder as long as he does not set foot on the island.
The Hong Kong Police Force and the Department of Justice held a meeting on Wednesday to study how to deal with the situation, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
A spokesman for the justice department declined to comment on individual cases, but a source cited by local media revealed that authorities are considering to transfer Chan to Taiwan through a special legal arrangement in the absence of a formal extradition agreement between Hong Kong and the island.
Taiwanese authorities have to file a petition to their Hong Kong counterparts, which will then propose a provisional legislation to the Legislative Council to allow the extradition, the source said.
Once it is passed, Hong Kong police can then proceed to extradite Chan to Taiwan, where he would stand trial for the Poon’s murder, the source said, adding that this would be unprecedented in Hong Kong.
In a statement, the Security Bureau said police are actively investigating the case as well as trying hard to handle the situation under the existing legal framework.
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, chairperson of New People’s Party and a former security chief, said Chan’s prosecution in Hong Kong for the murder he committed in Taiwan would depend on whether he had premeditated and planned the crime in Hong Kong.
Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said it would be difficult to prove that Chan’s act was premeditated unless police found evidence that the victim had been battered, poisoned or harmed in other ways by Chan in Hong Kong.
Chan appeared in a Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Court on Thursday in connection with the charges against him. The prosecution objected his bail application, although Chan did not apply for one. The magistrate approved the prosecution’s objection.
Local media reported that Chan and Poon had a quarrel before her death after she revealed that she was pregnant and Chan suspected that she had another lover.
Taiwanese authorities were said to have conducted an autopsy of the victim’s body. A forensic report could confirm whether the victim was pregnant.
Related story: HK man arrested after admitting killing girlfriend in Taiwan
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