October 22, 2019

Murder Suspect at Center of Hong Kong Unrest Released From Jail
(Bloomberg) -- The murder suspect at the center of months of unrest in Hong Kong was released from jail, but efforts to prosecute him remained uncertain as a bureaucratic feud continued between the city’s government and Taiwan.Chan Tong-kai, who admitted in court proceedings to killing his girlfriend in 2018 while on a vacation in Taiwan, was set free from a Hong Kong jail on Wednesday and bowed deeply in apology after some brief comments. His case sparked months of increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong after Chief Executive Carrie Lam tried to introduce deeply unpopular extradition legislation as a result of his case.Chan was jailed on a related money-laundering charge after Hong Kong determined that it lacked the evidence to prosecute him for the more serious offense in Taiwan. After his release, he apologized for the “irreversible mistake” he made and for the pain he caused the family of the victim, Poon Hiu-wing.“I am willing to return to Taiwan to face sentence and trial for my recklessness and mistake I made,” Chan told reporters. “To society and the Hong Kong people -- sorry.”As Chan was driven away, accompanied by a pastor, some reporters chased after his car on motorcycles.Yet Chan’s fate remains unclear as Hong Kong and Taiwan bicker over jurisdiction, sovereignty and legal technicalities -- disagreements that ultimately stem from political ambiguity over their relationship and animosity between their leaders. While President Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan favors independence from China, Hong Kong’s Lam was elected to her current position by a committee dominated by Beijing loyalists, who view Taiwan as a Chinese province.The back-and-forth between authorities in Taipei and the financial hub continued overnight, even as Hong Kong prepared for Chan’s release. Early Wednesday, Hong Kong’s government criticized Taiwan’s latest plan to send law enforcement officers to collect Chan, saying in a statement that the move showed “disrespect for Hong Kong’s jurisdictional power and is totally unacceptable.”At the same time, Hong Kong said Chan was a “free man” who could travel as he pleased. “He could go to Taiwan accompanied by persons of his choice. Upon arrival, the authority of Taiwan can arrest him,” the city government said.The Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei, which manages the island’s relations with China, said Hong Kong must bear responsibility for what happens with the case. “We have made best efforts to demonstrate our highest sincerity to cooperate with Hong Kong but Hong Kong ignored it,” the agency said in a statement.(Updates with Chan’s quotes from fourth paragraph)\--With assistance from Adela Lin and Miaojung Lin.To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Chinmei Sung in Taipei at csung4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Adrian KennedyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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