FitzGerald Lawyers has secured a resounding victory for a French client (let us call her Madeleine), former resident of Hong Kong, accused of fraud and money laundering before the Hong Kong District Court. Madeleine fled Hong Kong, breaking the terms of her bail, before having to face a criminal trial in Hong Kong. Her former husband, extradited from Indonesia to Hong Kong, was the principal actor, and co-accused.
The Hong Kong authorities circulated a red notice through Interpol on the charges she faced. They issued an arrest warrant for her absconding, but did not charge her for this.
How was Madeleine able to remain in France?
There is no extradition treaty between France and Hong Kong.
On 3 August 2020 France halted the ratification of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. France’s Foreign Ministry cited the implications of the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) for the One Country, Two Systems agreement adding the NSL also applied to French citizens and businesses.
Inability to give positive evidence
While Madeleine was permitted to have legal representation at the Hong Kong criminal trial, she was not permitted to file and rely on any witness evidence of her own, absent travelling to Hong Kong and surrendering herself to the authorities.
Madeleine was acquitted with no case to answer. Her former husband went on to trial and was ultimately acquitted himself.
On her acquittal, the red notice was withdrawn. We were able to have the Hong Kong arrest warrant in relation her absconding cancelled as well.