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Accused of inaction in robbery case, Hong Kong says Taiwan should put laws before politics

Taiwan and Hong Kong fail to reach consensus on mutual legal assistance in watch robbery case

Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui area

Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui area (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hong Kong authorities have accused Taiwan of misleading the public and refused to offer up additional evidence beyond the scope of its current laws to assist in the ongoing prosecution of an alleged Taiwanese robber.

The Hong Kong government responded to a media inquiry on Sunday (Dec. 22), emphasizing that no agreement exists between Taiwan and Hong Kong that would allow for legal assistance or extradition. It accused Taiwan of using political pressure and delivering untruthful information to get its way and rejected the island's allegation of inaction on the part of Hong Kong as defamation.

Last month, police in Taichung apprehended the suspect, who was alleged to have robbed a store during a day trip to Hong Kong on Oct. 6, stealing two watches worth a total of NT$3.8 million (US$126,000).

After a one-month investigation, the Ministry of Justice sought legal assistance from the Hong Kong government, requesting surveillance footage from the Tsim Sha Tsui shop and statements from the victim.

Facing Hong Kong's criticism, the Ministry of Justice explained in an announcement that its request was based on its responsibility to combat international crime. It stated that Hong Kong should not let the outlaw escape justice and that it ought to assist the victim to retrieve the stolen loot in Taiwan.

According to Article 43 of the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Mainland Affairs, prosecutors in Taiwan have the right to arrest and detain Taiwanese accused of committing a felony in Hong Kong or Macau that carries a prison sentence of at least three years in Taiwan. However, the lack of crucial evidence will hinder the judicial process of the robbery case.