Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung responded on 22nd October, 2019 to Taiwan’s refusal to grant Chan Tong-Kai entry into the country, saying that Taiwan should not over complicate a simple matter or allow political considerations over-ride justice and the rule of law.
Cheung criticised the Taiwanese position as incomprehensible prior to attending an Executive Council meeting this morning, highlighting that since it was Taiwan that issued a 30-year statute of limitations for Chan, the normal thing would be to hope for a quick arrest so that the culprit could be brought to justice. If one is willing to hand themselves in, the recipient party should accept immediately. Using African nations as his example, Cheung said that even they would accept the person’s surrender, “if this happened to an African country, they would gladly accept the surrender”. The Chief Secretary pointed out that Chan Tong-Kai’s surrender is should have been a trivial matter for Taiwan that doesn’t require turning it into a major international event.
Matthew Cheung also pointed that Taiwan’s insistence on Chan’s transfer to Taiwan be handled under a formal mutual legal assistance framework is “forcing the HK government against its will”. He reiterated that Hong Kong in operating under the principle of territoriality, can make such an arrangement only if the accused is suspected of having committing a crime within Hong Kong’s borders or parts thereof; and while the SAR government is willing to cooperate, Cheung said it cannot be coerced and that Taiwan should be pragmatic and proactive, without making a simple matter complicated, or allow political considerations to override justice and the rule of law.
Hong Kong academic Dr. Wan Chin said “it would be the greatest of insults for Taiwan if it accepts the transfer deal”, in his analysis of the issue and the rationale behind Taiwan’s political consideration, which Taiwanese media SET News have quoted in their report. Wan Chin stated that “the Hong Kong government, in having a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference escort the suspect over to Taiwan for trial, would be tantamount to claiming Taiwan as a territory under China’s control through the agency of Hong Kong. So by escorting the accused over to Taiwan for trial, Hong Kong/China would have the upper hand. Moreover, in having the pomp of a Manchurian Imperial Commissioner or an Inspector General of the Eight Prefecture escorting a criminal suspect back to their place of origin for trial, it would be like the Kangxi Emperor sending Shi Lang (Marquis Jing Hai, also known as Secoe or Sego) over on a plane to conquer Taiwan.”
(Photo screen-capped from RTHK’s Facebook livecast)