The Hong Kong murder suspect whose case triggered the extradition bill crisis in 2019 is no longer under police protection and is now living somewhere remote in the city, according to a priest who has been helping him.
Chan Tong-kai, wanted in Taiwan for the February 2018 killing in Taipei of his pregnant girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing had left a safe house operated by police, Reverend Canon Peter Koon Ho-ming said on Wednesday.
“He is now in a place where it would be hard for him to get in touch with other residents,” Koon said.
Chan, who was 19 at the time of the alleged crime, returned to Hong Kong after Poon’s death and was jailed for six months for related money-laundering offences.
He could not be sent to Taiwan to face murder charges because of the lack of an extradition deal between the city and the self-ruled island, and he stayed at the safe house following his release from jail in October 2019.
The murder case prompted the government to propose an extradition bill, which sparked mass protests in 2019 and was eventually withdrawn.
But Chan is determined to return to Taiwan to turn himself in, according to Koon.
“But I have no new information to share; we have to wait for the Taiwan side to issue a visa and notify us,” he said.
Chan left the safe house in June after security authorities carried out several assessments of the threat to his safety and concluded it was time for the protective arrangement to end, Koon added.
Poon’s mother had made repeated appeals to the government to end the police protection and help bring her daughter’s murderer to justice.
A source added that since it would be inconvenient for Chan to return to his home in a densely populated residential area, it was decided he should move somewhere remote.
Authorities had taken into account how the media had repeatedly questioned whether Chan’s continued stay at the safe house was a prudent use of public money, the insider said.