The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus on Thursday last week held a news conference at which it suggested that Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung’s (徐國勇) meeting with the Reverend Peter Koon (管浩鳴) from Hong Kong was decidedly suspicious, saying it looked like a “deal with the devil.”
The caucus gave two reasons for its suspicions. First, Koon is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Second, it said it suspected that the two men had discussed the case of Hong Kong murder suspect Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳) behind closed doors.
That these occurrences were spelled out by pan-blue camp legislators in the capacity of the KMT legislative whip cannot but set a political tone — it is very different from an average person spuriously giving their opinion at a bar.
The minister has made it clear that he only met the clergyman on one occasion, and that he was unaware prior to their meeting that Koon was a member of the CPPCC.
Hsu has also said that he had thought the meeting would be about religious matters, and that since the conversation had turned to the Chan case, he informed the Mainland Affairs Council immediately after the meeting.
This explanation failed to satisfy the KMT, which said it might investigate further.
Due to the political sensitivity of Koon’s role in Chan’s potential return to Taiwan to stand trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎), there is also interest in another individual who is being linked to the Chan case even more than Hsu, and who could even be central to the whole issue.
He is C.V. Chen (陳長文), a lawyer at the Taipei-based law firm Lee and Li.
As the situation stands, Chen has said that he has met Koon on one occasion, but when asked whether he would take on the Chan case he replied that, due to the sensitivity of the issue, he would neither confirm nor deny that he would.
Koon’s public remarks about the matter have essentially revealed Chen’s hand, for people now know that Chan’s parents have visited Taiwan to discuss the case with Chen, and that Chen had also traveled to Hong Kong to see Chan.
According to facts that have come to light, Chen has not only met Koon, but he is also the subject of a “deal with the devil,” as defined by the KMT caucus.
If it is confirmed that he is to be Chan’s lawyer for the murder and dismemberment case, and is receiving remuneration for this work, the question is whether Chen was the person who suggested that Chan come to Taiwan to turn himself in to the authorities.
After all, why else would Lee and Li have accepted the case? Would this not constitute, according to the KMT caucus’ stated criteria, not only the devil, but the “devil within the devil”? People can come to their own conclusions.
Of course, it could also be construed as fair comment on a fact subject to public criticism.
The case pertains to the rationale behind the proposed extradition bill that has caused so much unrest in Hong Kong, and which has got Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) into so much trouble. Yet, it is arguable that this case also vindicates Lam to a certain degree, and therefore gives her a way out.
The bill is already dead in the water; it has been scrapped. What other purpose would advocating for Chan to come to Taiwan, at Lee and Li’s expense, to stand trial serve, and does this not constitute sacrificing the individual merely to serve political goals?