“NO SUCH THING”
Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong citizen, was accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan last year before fleeing back to the financial hub. Chan was arrested by Hong Kong police in March 2018 and authorities there were only able to find evidence against him for money laundering, for which he was sentenced to 29 months in prison.
Chan has offered to voluntarily surrender himself to Taiwan, but both Hong Kong and Taiwan have clashed over the next steps.
“There’s no such thing as surrender,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters. “There’s only arrest… We will continue to ask for legal assistance from the Hong Kong government, including providing related evidence and to ask the Hong Kong government not to evade the matter.”
Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee said Taiwan, which China claims as its own, was obstructing the case.
China, which views Taiwan as a renegade province, has offered the “one country, two systems” formula for it to unite with the mainland. Fiercely democratic Taiwan has rejected the offer with Tsai saying this month such an arrangement had set Hong Kong “on the edge of disorder”.
China, which has many times expressed confidence in Lam and her government to end the unrest, was drawing up a plan to replace her with an “interim” chief executive, the Financial Times reported, citing people briefed on the deliberations.
Lam has become a lightning rod for protests and another of the protesters’ demands has been for her to stand down.
The leading candidates to succeed Lam include Norman Chan, the former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Henry Tang, who has also served as the territory’s financial secretary and chief secretary for administration, the report said.
A spokesman said Tang did not comment on speculation and that he supported Lam as chief executive.
A senior official in Beijing said the FT story was wrong and none of the suggested candidates listed in the story could possibly take over from Lam based on the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution which came into force in 1997.
But Beijing had prepared all kinds of contingency plans for different scenarios in Hong Kong, including Lam’s administration losing total control of the situation, the official said.
China’s foreign ministry said the FT report was a political rumor with ulterior motives.
Over recent months, Beijing has set up a special team working from Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, to gather information and it acts as the major communication channel between Hong Kong and Beijing, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Lam’s office was authorized to talk to the team directly without going through Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, one of the people said.
The Liaison Office, the symbol of Chinese rule, was attacked and daubed with anti-China graffiti in July.
In September, in response to a Reuters report about a recording of Lam saying she would step down if she could, she said she had never asked the Chinese government to let her resign.
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