Chan Tong-kai, who is accused of killing his girlfriend in Taiwan last year, outside Pik Uk Prison in Hong Kong on Wednesday. He had been serving a sentence for money laundering.

A Hong Kong murder suspect whose case sparked the city’s extradition bill crisis made a public apology today as he was released from prison amid an escalating political row with Taiwan.

After spending 18 months in custody on money-laundering charges, Chan Tong-kai, wanted for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan, walked out of Pik Uk Correctional Institution in Clear Water Bay on Wednesday morning.

Reverend Canon Peter Koon Ho-ming, a top Anglican priest who had been visiting Chan weekly in jail, told the Post it was unlikely the former inmate would leave Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Speaking outside the maximum-security prison, the 20-year-old student bowed before apologising to the victim’s family and to the people of Hong Kong.

“I am willing, for my impulsive act and things I did wrong, to surrender myself to Taiwan to face sentencing,” he said, adding he had made the “worst mistake” that could not be reversed.

He added: “I hope this can make her family feel slightly relieved, and [the deceased girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing] can rest in peace.” Thanking his parents, he said: “Even though I’ve made the worst mistake, they still care for me, support me and won’t give up on me.”

Chan begged Hongkongers for forgiveness before bowing for the second time and leaving in a white seven-seater vehicle, without taking reporters’ questions.

The car Chan was travelling in with Koon was later seen entering King’s Park Hill in Yau Ma Tei. Metal barriers were in place to control traffic in and out of the estate.

Koon then left the estate in the same vehicle without the murder suspect. Chan has since been relocated to an unknown location.

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