Murder suspect walks free as Hong Kong, Taiwan authorities clash

Murder suspect walks free as Hong Kong, Taiwan authorities clash

Murder suspect walks free as Hong Kong, Taiwan authorities clash

Chan, who is suspected of killing his pregnant girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎) in Taiwan in February past year before returning to Hong Kong, reportedly said that he would be willing to turn himself in to Taiwanese authorities once released from prison in Hong Kong today.

Last week, parliament proceedings were interrupted when opposition lawmakers heckled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Despite the removal of the bill, protests are reportedly expected to continue due to activists' additional demands.

In September, Lam withdrew the controversial extradition bill that launched the protests back in June. The peaceful protests have since snowballed into a somewhat violent, unpredictable campaign for political reform.

That formula allows the city wide-ranging freedoms not available on the mainland, such as an independent judiciary. Fiercely democratic Taiwan has rejected the offer with Tsai saying this month such an arrangement had set Hong Kong "on the edge of disorder".

Scrapping the bill meets one of protesters' five key demands, but activists have vowed not to yield until the government fulfils all of them.

Leading candidates being considered to replace her reportedly include Norman Chan, former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Henry Tang, who has also served as the territory's financial secretary and chief secretary for administration.

The 20-year-old has offered to surrender to Taiwan authorities for prosecution, but Hong Kong and the self-ruled island have struggled over the conditions for the transfer.

The bill would have allowed individuals in Hong Kong to be extradited and tried in China and was seen as an infringement on autonomy, and a means for Beijing to crackdown on dissidents.

The Hong Kong government had said the legal loophole needed to be closed to uphold justice and align the city's laws with global standards.

Upon leaving the prison on Wednesday, Hong Kong citizen Chan Tong-kai apologized to the family of his murdered ex-girlfriend and to the people of Hong Kong, saying he had made "a bad mistake".

Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee said Taiwan, which China claims as its own, was obstructing the case.

The Financial Times newspaper reports that China's government is drawing up plans to remove Ms Lam, a figure loathed by protesters whom Beijing has thus far stood by.

Carrie Lam, the embattled Hong Kong leader, has insisted that other demands by protesters are outside her control.

Lam's office said it would not comment on speculation.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that Western governments' responses to demonstrators in Catalonia and London showed that "so-called democracy and human rights are only a sanctimonious pretext for the West to meddle in Hong Kong's affairs".

"In recent months we've seen both Beijing and Chinese state media coming out very strongly against the protesters, painting them as villains in the unfolding drama", said Adam Ni, a China researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney.

"The West is paying the price for supporting riots in Hong Kong, which has quickly kindled violence in other parts of the world and foreboded the political risks that the West can't manage", the Global Times wrote.

Lam's office was authorised to talk to the team directly without going through Beijing's Liaison Office, one of the people said.

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