MACAU'S Supreme Court has rejected extradition requests from China for two Hong Kong men and is likely instead to prosecute them itself for crimes they allegedly committed on the mainland. If the men are sent to trial in Macau it would be unprecedented and require the court to accept the veracity of evidence supplied by China. In an interview with the South China Morning Post earlier this year, Supreme Court President Amaro Farinha Ribeiras hinted at the likelihood of a trial in the enclave, a situation their lawyer claimed would be untenable. Lawyer Pedro Redinha said if evidence and witnesses were supplied to the prosecution by China, the element of reasonable doubt required to acquit was introduced from day one. The justice system in China was widely acknowledged as having many faults, he said, including the pressuring of witnesses into giving false evidence and the holding of trials in secret. An official statement released last night by Lusa, the Portuguese news agency, said the two men, alleged murderer Yeung Yuk-yeung and alleged drug trafficker Lei Ch'an-wa, would not be extradited, despite an earlier order to do so by the Macau Judiciary. However, the Constitutional Court in Portugal had ruled that extradition to China where they faced the death penalty was unconstitutional. Neither Yeung nor Lei is accused of committing any crime in Macau. They were arrested by the enclave's police on international warrants issued on behalf of China and have been in custody ever since. Yeung was arrested in 1993 and Lei in 1994. A third suspect wanted by China, alleged car smuggler Leong Cheng-meng, was arrested in 1994, but his case has yet to be decided by the Supreme Court. Macau's legal system is separate from Portugal's, but is subject to Portuguese constitutional law, which bars extradition to countries where the death penalty could be imposed. 'The two suspects wanted by China . . . may be tried in Macau for the crimes they allegedly committed in China,' the Lusa statement said. Such trials would further call into question Macau's close relationship with China on matters relating to the law. Australian-Chinese businessman James Peng Jiandong was snatched from a Macau hotel room in 1993 and taken to China without extradition proceedings where he was convicted last month of corruption charges and sentenced to 18 years' jail. Macau police have arrested a thief who burgled the home of the enclave's chief of police, the Macau Hoje newspaper reported yesterday. The burglar, Chan Soi-keng, was caught on Monday while allegedly committing another burglary and confessed to stealing from the home of Commander Fernando Pinto Ribeira. Police officers have recovered watches, jewellery, stereo equipment and medals belonging to the commander. The burglary took place late last month, at Mr Ribeira's two-storey colonial-style mansion.