Taiwan will not return to the United States three men suspected of involvement in the murder of Chinese-language journalist Henry Liu near here last October, Mayor Dianne Feinstein said Friday.
The mayor told reporters that during a trade mission visit to Taiwan this week, she was told by a Foreign Ministry official that the three men would be tried in Taiwan if an investigation by authorities there concludes that they should be charged. That investigation is under way.
Vice Foreign Minister Mau Shih Ding noted in the conversations earlier this week that Taiwan has no extradition treaty with the United States, which cut diplomatic ties in 1979, the mayor's press secretary, Tom Eastham, said.
The FBI, which through the State Department has been trying to arrange for the return of the three suspects, was not aware of Taiwan's apparent refusal to comply, an FBI spokesman here said.
The Daly City Police Department was not aware of the development either, said Detective John Warren. He noted that Taiwan also has not complied with the department's request that it supply fingerprints and photos of the three men.
All three men are sought for questioning in the case and one of them, Chen Chi-li, 43, whom authorities identified as the head of United Bamboo, the strongest organized crime group on Taiwan, has been named in an arrest warrant.
Feinstein asked Mau about the case after being contacted by Jerome Garchik, a lawyer for Liu's widow. Garchik has labeled the murder "a terrorist act," possibly engineered by Taiwan officials, because of Liu's writings critical of the Nationalist Chinese regime on the island.
Liu was gunned down in the garage of his Daly City home on Oct. 15. Daly City police and the FBI later named four Taiwan nationals as suspects.
Three of the suspects, including Chen, were in this country at the time of the murder but then returned to Taiwan.
The fourth Taiwan national is living in San Gabriel. He was arrested and released after the San Mateo district attorney concluded that there was insufficient evidence against him. The investigation is continuing.