Deyun Shi, the La Cañada Flintridge man suspected of killing two of his teenage nephews in Arcadia last week and fleeing the country, will appear in a Hong Kong court Monday, authorities said.
He is expected to decline consent to extradition, his Los Angeles-based attorney said.
Shi, 44, fled Los Angeles on Friday on a flight to Hong Kong. Local officials there met him when his flight landed and took him into custody.
The extradition process could be complicated by whether prosecutors seek the death penalty. Hong Kong has its own British-based legal system separate from mainland China’s, and the territory — unlike the mainland — has an extradition treaty with the United States.
But Hong Kong, a former British colony, has no death penalty. If Shi were to face capital charges in California, that could complicate extradition proceedings.
“The existence of [the] death penalty is not a barrier to extradition, but the possibility of execution would be,” said Margaret Ng, a Hong Kong lawyer and a former Legislative Council member who represented the legal sector. “Any possibility of execution will be a reason for Hong Kong not to surrender.”
If Shi contests the extradition, it could take weeks or longer to resolve the matter.
Barry Greenhalgh, an Encino attorney who said he had been contacted by a partner of Shi’s to arrange legal assistance for Shi, said he was “interested in looking into” whether the absence of the death penalty in Hong Kong could be a basis for stopping or delaying extradition.
When Shi and his family moved to Southern California is unclear.
Greenhalgh said Shi and his wife had two sons, and they had come to the United States about a year ago. Property records indicate that in August 2014, the couple bought a three-bedroom, mid-century ranch home on Briargate Lane in Arcadia for $1.08 million. In May 2015 they purchased a five-bedroom Mediterranean-style home in La Cañada Flintridge for $2.67 million.
The California Secretary of State’s business registration database indicates a person named Deyun Shi registered a business in California in November 2014 called Xunding World Information Integrated Group. The business’ address is given as 5079 Walnut Grove Ave. in San Gabriel.
What kind of business Xunding World Information Integrated Group conducted is unclear, though customs records in China indicate that the company imported various goods from China, including lamps, books and a large quantity of “light oil painting tripods.”
Before coming to the U.S., Shi and his wife had multiple businesses in the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen, a metropolis of 18 million people only a subway ride from Hong Kong. Among the companies they were involved with were Shenzhen Kejing Electrical Co. and Shenzhen Xunding Technology Co., Chinese business registration records show.
Reports in the Chinese media indicate that Shi and those businesses figured in numerous bribery cases investigated by the local branches of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, or CCDI, a key body within the Chinese Communist Party that probes corruption and other wrongdoing allegations among party cadres.
Shi appears to have been a central figure in at least four bribery cases in Shenzhen, according to numerous reports in Chinese media. Two local officials in Shenzhen who were in charge of government procurement, Li Zihua and Song Yixiang, were sentenced in November 2014 to 10 years in prison for accepting bribes from Shi, multiple reports in the Chinese media say.
Two Shenzhen school officials, Qiu Yimin and Lü Jingfeng, were also investigated for accepting bribes from Shenzhen Xunding Technology representatives. In August, Qiu was sentenced to 10 years for accepting about $240,000 in bribes.
No formal charges seem to have been brought against Shi in mainland China, although cases of alleged malfeasance by Communist Party members are typically investigated in secret by the CCDI under a process known as shuanggui, which is separate from ordinary Chinese law enforcement procedures. Whether mainland authorities might also be interested in having Shi returned to their jurisdiction is unclear.
Shi’s wife, Lin Yujing, filed for a temporary restraining order against Shi on New Year’s Eve, L.A. County Court records indicate.
Authorities said Shi was angry after learning that his wife, the sister of the dead boys’ father, wanted a divorce. Shi learned of his wife’s divorce plans during a Thursday court hearing in Pasadena, authorities said.
Shi, who had moved out of his family’s La Cañada Flintridge home, broke into the residence Thursday night and attacked his wife with a wood-cutting tool, said Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Their 15-year-old son intervened, and Shi left.
Investigators believe he later drove to the townhouse in the 400 block of Fairview Avenue in Arcadia where the boys lived with their parents. Police were unsure when he got there.
Early Friday, the boys’ parents went to the hospital to visit Shi’s wife, leaving the teens asleep, authorities said. When they returned at 5 a.m., they went to bed. The father left a few hours later, and the mother discovered one boy unresponsive and bleeding profusely.
She called Arcadia police, who found her second son in his third-floor bedroom. Both teenagers had suffered blunt-force trauma to their upper torsos and were pronounced dead at the scene. No weapon was found.
A representative for the Arcadia Unified School District identified the boys as Anthony Lin, 15, and William Lin, 16. Both attended Arcadia High School, a few blocks from their home.
On Sunday, flower bouquets and packages covered a stoop outside the boys’ home. Somebody left a red chemistry textbook. In a note written in lime green marker, a classmate who said she was William Lin’s chemistry lab partner said he always made her laugh. Lin wore lime green several days a week and had a “genuine, incessant fervor for science.”
“You always had a way of making this dark world bright,” she wrote. “I won’t let that change. Of course, it will be tremendously harder without you, but energy does not disappear.”
Outside nearby Arcadia High School, there was a growing pile of flowers and a pink poster board reading: “You two were great people, we’ll miss you a lot.”
On it, a classmate wrote that Anthony Lin “always knew how to crack a good joke and cheer me up on a bad day.”
A candlelight vigil is planned at the school on Monday.
Makinen and Law reported from Beijing and Branson-Potts from Los Angeles.
Special correspondents Nicole Liu, Tommy Yang, Yingzhi Yang and Chuan Xu in the Beijing bureau also contributed to this report.