Hong Kong woman murdered in Taiwan was pregnant, prosecutors say
Taiwanese prosecutors reach out to city authorities to collect DNA from suspect, who is being held locally on theft charges
A Hong Kong woman who was allegedly murdered by her 19-year-old boyfriend while on holiday in Taipei was three months pregnant when she was killed, Taiwanese prosecutors said on Thursday.
Based on this new information, prosecutors planned to ask Hong Kong police to collect DNA from the suspect, Chan Tong-kai, who had been held in Hong Kong on charges of theft and handling stolen goods.
An autopsy revealed a tiny skeleton in the body of Poon Hiu-wing, according to Wu Yi-ming, Shilin Prosecutors’ Office spokesman. “We want to ask for help from authorities in Hong Kong to collect the DNA samples from Mr Chan for us to compare with those of the skeleton.”
It is the second time Taiwan prosecutors have sought help from authorities in Hong Kong. Judicial cooperation has proved difficult because no formal extradition agreement exists between the two places and Hong Kong does not recognise Taiwan’s jurisdiction.
Chan, a former associate degree student at Polytechnic University’s Hong Kong Community College, is the prime suspect in the of killing Poon, 20, during their trip to Taiwan in February.
The couple went to Taiwan on February 8, but Chan returned to Hong Kong without her on February 17. Taiwan police said Chan was seen carrying a huge pink suitcase after checking out of a Taipei hotel earlier that day, and that they suspected Poon’s body was inside it.
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“We also want to ask for a response from the Hong Kong side at their earliest convenience over a request we made in March,” Wu said.
Wu was referring to a request for help in the case, including a transcript of a confession Chan reportedly made to Hong Kong police while in custody. But Taiwanese officials have yet to receive a reply despite Hong Kong sending three officers to Taiwan on March 21.
When contacted on Thursday, Hong Kong police would only say that an investigation was underway and there was “no further information to add at this stage”.
Taiwan’s justice ministry said it had already sent its request for Chan’s DNA.
“We sincerely hope that the Hong Kong government can offer us help quickly to uphold justice and prevent any wrongdoers from escaping punishment,” the ministry said.
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Legal experts in Taiwan said Chan may never face charges over the killing because of the legal red tape between Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Initial autopsy results showed the woman had been strangled. Police discovered Poon’s badly decomposed body on March 13, in bushes near Zhuwei MRT station, on Taipei’s outskirts.
Chan was arrested the same day in Hong Kong. He is accused of stealing Poon’s bank card, a camera, phone and NT$20,000 (US$685), and taking money from her bank account twice in late February, from a Hong Kong cash machine.