Taiwan murder suspect repatriated from China

Taipei (AFP) – A Taiwanese murder suspect who fled to China last month was brought back to the island on Wednesday in a rare act of cooperation between the two sides as tensions rise.


The suspect is accused of shooting a man dead before fleeing to the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen, where police say he has admitted to the crime.

On Wednesday he landed at Taipei's Songshan airport a day after China's office handling Taiwan affairs announced the repatriation.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory to be re-taken one day, by force if necessary, though the two sides have been ruled separately since 1949.

Their rivalry has complicated law enforcement efforts and for years some of Taiwan's most wanted criminals fled to China to dodge prosecution at home.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office on Tuesday said the repatriation will boost efforts to fight violent crime and "maintain order" in relations between the two sides.

Taiwanese media reported that the suspect, surnamed Huang, had been trapped in hotel quarantine since arriving on the Chinese mainland last month.

On returning to Taipei Wednesday Huang suffered a seizure while undergoing Covid checks at the airport and was taken to hospital, local police said.

Taiwan's former Beijing-friendly government signed a crime-fighting deal with China in 2009, agreeing that police from both sides could return suspects home.

But China has cut off official communication and ramped up pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who rejects Beijing's stance that the island is part of Chinese territory.

China repatriated four suspects to Taiwan last year, according to Taiwan's government.

No data has been released on how many Chinese citizens have been sent home from Taiwan.

The latest repatriation stands in stark contrast to an impasse provoked by the high-profile murder of a Hong Kong woman by her boyfriend during a holiday to Taiwan in 2018.

Chan Tong-kai has admitted killing his girlfriend in a Taipei hotel room but has remained free in Hong Kong as Taiwan and the semi-autonomous Chinese city argue over the handling of his case.

Hong Kong blames "political manipulations" by Taiwan for the lack of progress.