Presidential Office protests against Hong Kong leader's extradition claim

The Hong Kong authorities’ handling of the matter is irresponsible and lacking a moral sense, said a Presidential Office spokesperson

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Source: AP)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Source: AP)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Presidential Office lodged a protest against the Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, on Saturday evening, as the chief executive attributed the delay of the controversial extradition law amendments to the refusal on the part of the Taiwan government of collaborating in a murder case taken place in February.

Using the murder case as an excuse to push forward the extradition legislation that risks violating human rights is “irresponsible” and “lacking a moral sense,” said Ernesto Ting (丁允恭), spokesperson for the Presidential Office, via a statement.

The Hong Kong authorities’ handling of the matter is “unbelievable”, said Ting. He urged the Hong Kong government to ensure freedom and democracy enjoyed by its citizens.

Lam announced on Saturday afternoon that the Hong Kong government will suspend the amendments to the extradition bill indefinitely. She continued to defend the extradition bill and would not withdraw it despite acknowledging “polarized opinions on the bill” in society.

The Taiwan government’s refusal to accede to the transfer request of Chen Tongjia (陳同佳) from Hong Kong to Taiwan for murder trial has made the Hong Kong government less urgent to see the extradition bill passed during this legislative year, said Lam.

Chen is alleged to have killed his girlfriend during their trip to Taipei in February. After the murder, the Hong Kong government proposed the amendments, arguing they would effectively deal with the loopholes in the existing laws and the lack of agreements in mutual legal assistance between the Hong Kong authorities and other countries or jurisdictions.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which has complained about the Hong Kong government’s unwillingness to discuss over the murder case in the past few months, also issued a statement in the evening.

The council urged the Hong Kong government to respond to requests made by the Taiwanese authorities for mutual legal assistance in order to properly solve the murder case, said the statement.

In the meantime, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) took a harsh stance against Lam. “Blaming #Taiwan is immoral, shameful & unacceptable,” said Wu via Twitter. “Chief Executive Carrie Lam must listen to the people & take full responsibility.”

► (Screen capture from MOFA's Twitter)

The Civil Human Rights Front, the non-profit organization that successfully rallied 1.03 million Hong Kong people to protest against the government on June 9, said another demonstration is expected on Sunday.

People will take to the streets once again to demand the withdrawal of the extradition bill and the resignation of Lam, said the organizer.

Taiwan-based Hong Kong students and residents, along with civil groups from Taiwan, will also gather outside the Legislative Yuan on Sunday afternoon to urge the Legislature to take action over the issue.