HK releases murder suspect who sparked protest crisis


Hong kong, Oct 23 (IANS): Hong Kong has released from prison the murder suspect whose case triggered the city's mass protests and led to a diplomatic row. Chan Tong-kai, 20, is accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan last year before fleeing back to Hong Kong.

But Hong Kong and Taiwan do not have an extradition treaty, and his case was cited when the government proposed amending the law. He was in jail for money laundering.

Leaving prison on Wednesday, he apologised to the victim's family and said that he was willing to turn himself in to Taiwanese police to face charges, the BBC reported.

The proposed bill would have allowed Hong Kong to extradite criminal suspects to places it does not have an extradition treaty with, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macau.

Critics of the planned law feared that extradition to mainland China could subject people to arbitrary detention and unfair trials.

The controversial bill is expected to be formally withdrawn on Wednesday at its second reading in Parliament.

After the bill sparked city-wide protests, the government announced in July that it would suspend the bill. The formal withdrawal could only take place after Parliament resumed in October.

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

Although the Hong Kong protests started over the extradition bill, they have since widened to call for full democracy and less interference from Beijing.

  

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