Hong Kong police

Hong Kong police team sent to Taiwan for information on case of teen accused of killing girlfriend in Taipei

Officers discussed how the two sides could best cooperate to solve the case, in which Chan Tong-kai is accused of strangling Poon Hiu-wing, whose decomposed body was later found in bushes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2018, 4:10pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2018, 11:18pm

Hong Kong has sent three police officers to Taiwan to exchange intelligence with their local counterparts over the killing of a 20-year-old woman allegedly by her teenage boyfriend while the couple were on holiday in Taipei.

The officers, who arrived in Taipei at around 11.30am on Monday, headed straight to the Criminal Police Department where they discussed how the two sides could best cooperate to solve the case, a Taiwanese officer told the Post. There is no extradition agreement between the two places.

“Basically, they are here to exchange intelligence in line with our long-established cooperation mode, but for further action like inspection of the crime scene and where the victim’s body was dumped, technically, it still needs some sort of formal agreement before that can be done,” the officer said.

Another Taiwanese officer, however, said the Hong Kong trio would still be able to visit both sites for “observation purposes”.

Chan Tong-kai, 19, a former associate degree student at Polytechnic University’s Hong Kong Community College, is suspected of killing Poon Hiu-wing, also from Hong Kong.

The couple went to Taiwan on February 8, but Chan returned to Hong Kong alone on February 17. Officers said the suspect 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. Police discovered her badly decomposed body on March 13, in bushes near Zhuwei MRT station, on Taipei’s outskirts.

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Prosecutors in Taiwan said the initial autopsy showed that Poon, a former student at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, had been strangled.

“But in the absence of formal ties and agreements, we are not in the position to provide them [officers from Hong Kong] with concrete proof or other legal aid until we receive approval from our judicial authorities,” the second officer said.

Chan was arrested in Hong Kong, also on March 13, where he faces charges of theft and handling stolen goods. He is accused of stealing Poon’s bank card, a camera, her phone and NT$20,000 (US$685), and taking money from her bank account twice in late February, from a Hong Kong cash machine. He was remanded in custody following a court appearance.

A Hong Kong source confirmed that the purpose of the officers’ trip was to exchange intelligence. The Post understands that they would gather information on whether the murder was planned in Hong Kong. “If necessary, we will request official evidence and information related to the case via legal channels in the two places,” the source said.

The team, led by Superintendent Chim Tak-ming, was expected to return to Hong Kong later on Wednesday. The force alerted the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau before the trip.

The Shihlin Prosecutors Office, which is handling the case, sought help from Hong Kong police to provide the written accounts of Chan’s testimony on March 16 through the international and cross-strait legal affairs department under Taiwan’s Justice Ministry. But prosecutors had yet to receive any response from the Hong Kong side, office spokesman Wu Yi-ming said.

Asked when the victim’s body would be returned to her father, who visited Taiwan earlier this month to seek help from police to find his missing daughter, Wu said that would happen only after the official autopsy report was completed.

In Hong Kong, security minister John Lee Ka-chiu said: “I think at this stage the most important thing that we need to do is to investigate and collect evidence that will assist in the investigation and in due course assist the court in deciding how we go about this case.”

Additional reporting by Clifford Lo