Murder suspect walks free as Hong Kong, Taiwan authorities clash

HONG KONG: A murder suspect whose case led to mass street protests in Hong Kong walked free from jail on Wednesday (Oct 23) as the city's government squabbled with Taiwan, where he is accused of murdering his girlfriend, over how to handle a promised voluntary surrender.

Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong citizen, was accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan last year before fleeing back to the Chinese-ruled financial hub.

Chan, wearing a navy blue shirt and red backpack, bowed and apologised to the family of his ex-girlfriend and the public as he left the prison in Hong Kong's rural Sai Kung district after serving after serving a 29-month sentence for money laundering.
He said he had made an "unforgivable mistake".

"I hope her family can be relieved a bit and let her rest in peace," he said.

"For the society, for Hong Kongers I can only be sorry. I hope you can all forgive me ... let me be a new person and give me the opportunity to return to society."
Chan also said he would turn himself in to Taiwan authorities but declined to say when.

While Chan has offered to surrender himself voluntarily, Hong Kong and Taiwan have clashed over the next steps.

Speaking hours after Chan walked free from jail, Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee said Taiwan authorities were obstructing the case for political reasons.

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam held up Chan's case as an example of why an extradition Bill was needed. Such a Bill would have allowed suspects to be sent from Hong Kong to greater China, including the mainland, Taiwan and Macau.

The former British colony has been reeling from five months of unrest originally triggered by the proposed extradition Bill but which has now evolved into a movement.