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Lawmakers warn Hong Kong's China extradition plans a 'Trojan horse'

AFP  |  Hong Kong 

Plans by to allow extraditions to Taiwan, and following a high-profile murder case could become a "Trojan horse" for to pursue critics, pro-democracy lawmakers warned Wednesday.

The financial hub's has proposed changing the law in the wake of the murder of Poon Hui-wing, a pregnant 20-year-old allegedly strangled by her boyfriend during a Valentine's holiday in a year ago.

Poon's body was found dumped on the outskirts of after her boyfriend returned home to without her.

Chan is currently facing trial in for theft and money laundering linked to his alleged possession of Poon's But there is currently no prospect of him being extradited to where he is wanted for murder.

Despite being part of since its 1997 handover, semi-autonomous Hong Kong still has no extradition agreement with Macau, or The city laws governing extraditions currently rule out returns to "other parts of the People's Republic of China". Like Beijing, Hong Kong views as a part of the mainland, hobbling its ability to coordinate with

Chiu Chih-hung, a for Taipei's district prosecutors office, told AFP investigators had made multiple requests to last year in connection with the murder case but received no response.

"We would welcome if the could revise the relevant law to transfer the suspect to Taiwan to stand trial," he said.

In a briefing paper to the city's largely pro-legislature, which will debate the proposals on Friday, the said the case showed that current extradition laws "must be amended promptly to plug their loopholes and to protect public safety".

The bureau has proposed allowing extraditions on a "case-basis" and say prosecutions based on "race, religion, nationality or political opinions" would be refused.

But prominent pro-democracy lawmakers fear the move could still allow Beijing to tighten the noose on critics.

"We're terribly worried. This could prove a Trojan horse," lawmaker told AFP.

"I know the has implied that political cases will not be entertained, but we all know Beijing could always package ideological crimes in the form of economic offenses." has a long history of charging critics with fraud and other crimes -- dissident was famously prosecuted for tax evasion.

Pro-democracy lawmaker warned the proposal could "open Pandora's box".

"The Security Bureau's proposal has far-reaching consequences and must not be casually accepted," he wrote on

Although the proposal has been backed by the city's largest pro-Beijing party, pro-democracy lawmakers say Hong Kong should pursue a separate extradition agreement with Taiwan that doesn't include the mainland.

Historically Hong Kong has balked at extraditing suspects to the mainland because of the opacity of China's criminal justice system and the death penalty.

The city was also rattled in recent years by the disappearance of several booksellers who resurfaced in China facing charges -- and the alleged rendition of billionaire in 2017.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 14:50 IST