Taiwan prosecutors urge Hong Kong counterparts to make official request for information in case involving death of pregnant woman
Lack of judicial cooperation agreement between places sees city prosecutor make private request for help to build case against Chan Tong-kai
Prosecutors in Taiwan have urged their Hong Kong counterparts to operate through officials channels after receiving a private request for information in the case against a man wanted in connection with the death of his pregnant girlfriend.
Wu Yi-ming, the chief prosecutor of the Shihlin District Prosecutors’ Office in Taipei, made the plea for judicial cooperation in the case involving Chan Tong-kai, 19, who is the main suspect in the killing of Poon Hiu-wing, 20, while the two were on holiday in Taiwan.
Wu said although he had provided his counterparts with some information after a Hong Kong prosecutor contacted him privately, the city had yet to respond to his repeated requests for judicial cooperation.
“The case can be solved earlier if our two sides can work together,” he said.
Hong Kong’s Department of Justice declined to comment. “As proceedings in the case are ongoing, it is not appropriate for us to comment on it,” a spokesman said.
Judicial cooperation between the two jurisdictions has proved difficult because no formal extradition agreement or mutual legal assistance treaty exists as Hong Kong does not recognise Taiwan’s jurisdiction.
Hong Kong teenager faces possible murder charge over girlfriend’s death in Taiwan, prosecutors tell court
Chan flew to Taipei with Poon on February 8, returned to Hong Kong alone on February 17, and was arrested in the city on March 13 for allegedly stealing Poon’s bank card and taking money from her account.
He has been remanded since his first court appearance on March 15.
Poon’s badly decomposed body was discovered on March 13, in bushes near Zhuwei MRT station, on Taipei’s outskirts.
Wu said a Hong Kong prosecutor had sought help from the Taiwanese side in collecting evidence soon after an autopsy revealed the victim was three months’ pregnant when she was strangled.
“We are willing to help, but it is really against both international practice and our existing rules for us to hand over evidence to any private individual,” Wu told the Post.
On March 21, Hong Kong sent three police officers to Taiwan and exchanged views with investigators there about the case for more than an hour. They returned to the city that afternoon.
Wu said his office did eventually provide some relevant information to the Hong Kong prosecutor, including what was in the autopsy report.
The evidence included security videotapes showing Chan and Poon returning to the hotel together and Chan leaving alone with a huge pink suitcase the next day, as well as footage of his leaving the subway with the suitcase and heading towards the bushes in Zhuwei.
“All we need is for Hong Kong to send us an official request for judicial cooperation, instead of a private message asking for our provision of evidence,” Wu said.
Wu’s comments came after Hong Kong prosecutors said on Thursday that new information supplied by Taiwanese authorities meant they were now looking at charging Chan with murder, in addition to theft for which he was being held in custody.