Taiwan mulls travel warning for Hong Kong if new extradition law adopted

HK proposes legal amendment that will put foreigners in Hong Kong at risk of extradition to China


(Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Deputy Minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), on Monday, March 25 expressed concern at the possibility of Hong Kong adopting a controversial new law regarding extraditions.

Chiu said that the new proposed amendment to the law concerning extraditions represents a potential threat to Taiwanese citizens, and that if passed, Taiwan would be forced to consider issuing a travel alert citizens traveling to the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The new proposed law on extraditing criminals was proposed by the Hong Kong Security Bureau to the city’s Legislative Council in February 2019. It was presented as a remedy to solving to the legal gridlock related to the murder of 21 year old Poon Hui Wing (潘曉穎), which occurred in Taiwan in March, 2018.

Currently, Hong Kong is unable to legally form legal agreements with Taiwan because of authoritarian legal measures imposed by Beijing. This means that the suspect in the Poon Hui Wing murder case, Chan Tung-kai (陳同佳), cannot be sent to Taiwan to face trial under current Hong Kong law.

The Security Bureau’s new proposal for extraditions, would allow for ad-hoc arrangements between the Hong Kong government and foreign nations, as well as other regions of China.

Despite the fact that the Hong Kong government would be forced to legally and awkwardly recognize Taiwan as a “region of China,”if the new law is passed, it would allow for the extradition of Chan Tung-kai (陳同佳) to face trial for murder in Taiwan.

However, observers have noted that under the wording of the newly proposed law, Taiwanese citizens, as well as foreigners traveling in Hong Kong, or even just transiting through the airport, could be apprehended and extradited to China within a matter of days, if the government in Beijing labeled them a criminal and presented charges against them to authorities in Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, Chiu said that the MAC is watching developments in Hong Kong closely, and that the new extradition agreement would present an increased risk for Taiwanese travel and investment in Hong Kong.

If the new measure is adopted into law by the SAR, then as a preliminary response, Taiwan may need to issue a permanent travel advisory for Hong Kong, reports Liberty Times.