Teenage murder suspect may escape justice say Taiwan officials as Hong Kong ignores requests for help
Prosecutor’s plea for information over suitcase murder goes unanswered
A teenage murder suspect from Hong Kong is still no closer to facing charges over the death of his girlfriend in Taiwan.
Chan Tong-kai, 19, who remains in custody in the city on charges of theft and handling stolen goods, is wanted for questioning over the death of Poon Hiu-wing.
However, nearly two weeks after requesting judicial help in the case, Taiwanese authorities have said they are still waiting for a response from their Hong Kong counterparts. The situation is complicated because no formal extradition agreement exists between the two jurisdictions.
Wu Yi-ming, a spokesman for Shihlin Prosecutors Office, said officials were concerned the situation could lead to Chan escaping justice entirely.
“We need at least his confession he reportedly made in Hong Kong while in detention, or anything that could help us gather concrete evidence before going to the legal proceeding process,” Wu said. “But so far, we have received no response [to the request for help] from the Hong Kong side.”
That is despite Hong Kong sending three officers to Taiwan on March 21 to exchange intelligence about the killing, a meeting that Taiwanese officials said did not touch on the matters of judicial cooperation or other material help.
Hong Kong’s Department of Justice has not yet responded to questions from the Post about the concerns raised by the Taiwanese authorities.
The case is likely to be delayed further by the autopsy report, which Wu said will take about a month to complete as authorities analyse the information they have already collected.
Poon’s body is expected to be repatriated to Hong Kong this week, with her parents understood to have changed their minds on having her cremated in Taiwan as originally planned.
There have been suggestions that returning the body to the city could help local authorities gather evidence, however, Wu declined to speculate on the motives for doing so.
“I don’t want to comment on what the [Hong Kong] side has in mind about the exchange of judicial help,” he said. “All we want is to help the victim claim justice, which is in line with the moral standard of a just society.”
Chan and Poon travelled to Taiwan on February 8, but Chan returned to Hong Kong without her nine days later.
Officers said Chan was seen carrying a huge pink suitcase after checking out of a Taipei hotel earlier that day and that they believed 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.
Prosecutors in Taiwan said later the initial autopsy showed that Poon, a former student at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, had been strangled.
Chan was arrested in Hong Kong 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.