Issue of warrant for Cheung's arrest denied

The Government denied reports that a warrant had been issued for Cheung Tze-keung's arrest, saying there was still insufficient evidence on the alleged kidnappings and that the mainland trial had to run its course.

A government spokesman said there had been insufficient evidence to arrest Cheung before he left for the mainland early this year and added: 'In respect of the alleged kidnapping case, unfortunately we still do not have sufficient evidence to bring charges against the suspects.' However, on other alleged offences, the spokesman said that the police had gathered useful information and evidence.

A court hearing involving one specific case would start soon, the spokesman said, but declined to give details.

On the possible return of Big Spender, the spokesman said: 'Since investigation and judicial proceedings on the mainland have commenced, it would not be appropriate to seek Cheung's return to Hong Kong until the proceedings in the mainland have been completed.

'This is in line with the international practice on the surrender of fugitive offenders.' The spokesman denied reports Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee had suggested Cheung should confess to the alleged offences committed in Hong Kong to secure his return to the SAR to stand trial.

'The fact is that the Secretary for Security was asked by the press whether a self-confession by Cheung would enable him to be brought back to Hong Kong for trial.

'Her response was that in such an event, the nature and the content of such confession would have to be carefully examined and legal advice would need to be sought,' the spokesman said.