Can a Tianjin man be extradited to his country for trial for killing his wife and cheating insurance on Phuket Island?

 Can a Tianjin man be extradited to his country for trial for killing his wife and cheating insurance on Phuket Island?

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Recently, according to media reports, Tianjin man Zhang Mou bought more than 30 million yuan of insurance for his wife, took his wife and daughter to Phuket Island, Thailand to travel, and brutally murdered his wife in a private villa hotel, then faked the scene to lie to his parents-in-law that his wife drowned. The Consular Office of the Chinese Consulate General in Songka in Phuket responded to a reporter from the Beijing News that the local police in Phuket had controlled the man to assist in the investigation and the family members of the woman had arrived at Phuket Island. Tianjin police said the man involved was suspected of fraud and had filed a case.

So far, Zhang Mou, who killed his wife and cheated insurance, must be an unavoidable criminal. But the more realistic question is whether the case should be under the jurisdiction of the Chinese or Thai police. In fact, Thailands criminal penalty for homicide may be lighter than Chinas criminal law. According to media reports, the families of the victims hope to extradite Zhang Mou to China for trial. But can this wish be realized?

Generally speaking, there are four types of jurisdiction over criminal cases: first, the principle of territoriality, of course, has jurisdiction over all crimes committed in the territory of the country; second, the principle of personal jurisdiction over all crimes committed by the country, whether in the territory of the country or outside the territory of the country; third, the principle of protection, which infringes on the interests of the country or citizens. If it is beneficial, it can be applied to its own criminal law. Fourthly, the general principle is that jurisdiction can be exercised in cases of crimes that infringe upon the common interests of all countries as stipulated in international treaties.

In this case, a Chinese citizen murdered another Chinese citizen abroad, and the Chinese judicial authorities can file the case in accordance with the principle of personal jurisdiction. Article 7 of the Criminal Law clearly stipulates that this Law shall apply to citizens of the Peoples Republic of China who commit crimes stipulated in this Law outside the territory of the Peoples Republic of China, but if the maximum penalty prescribed in this Law is fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, they may not be investigated.

The Chinese judiciary has jurisdiction over this case, but Thailand also has territorial jurisdiction over this case. In fact, China and Thailand still have a very tacit understanding in judicial cooperation. As early as 1994, China and Thailand signed the Extradition Treaty, which is the first extradition treaty between China and other countries. This case of wife murder and insurance fraud does not belong to the exclusion of extradition under the Extradition Treaty. Extradition procedures should be initiated.

However, even if the case meets the conditions for extradition, it does not mean that Thailand will inevitably transfer the criminal suspect Zhang Mou. Whether Chinese judicial organs want to initiate extradition procedures also needs to be fully weighed and considered.

First, the jurisdiction of transnational cases generally involves the principle of inconvenient jurisdiction. This murder case occurred in Thailand. The relevant material evidence, personal evidence, autopsy and other evidence remain in Thailand. If the suspect is extradited to China and the case is filed by the judicial organ of Tianjin, China, for investigation, it may involve delay in handling the case, loss of evidence and other issues.

This can also be proved by the fact that the relevant departments in Tianjin have filed fraud cases rather than intentional homicide cases, because the key information of homicide cases is not yet available abroad, while fraud cases have met the filing standards. As for whether the homicide case will be filed and the extradition procedure will be initiated in the future, it remains to be carefully decided by the judicial organs, the foreign affairs departments and the judicial administrative departments of our country.

However, whether the Chinese can extradite their crimes abroad or not is a rather complex issue of private international law and transnational judicial cooperation. Even if the two countries signed the Extradition Treaty, it does not mean that the ordinary homicide case must be tried by Chinese judicial organs. In this regard, we should have sufficient rational understanding. In fact, judicial cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries has been fruitful. The most typical example is the previous Mekong massacre, in which Nuokang, a Burmese, killed his compatriots abroad and was finally handed over to the Chinese judicial organs for trial.

Secondly, China upholds the principle of negative recognition of foreign judicial results. Article 10 of the Criminal Law stipulates that any person who commits a crime outside the territory of the Peoples Republic of China and is liable for criminal responsibility in accordance with this Law may be investigated in accordance with this Law even though he has been tried in a foreign country, but if he has already received a penalty in a foreign country, he may be exempted from or mitigated from punishment. Therefore, after Zhang Mou was tried in Thailand, the Chinese judicial organs still have the right to pursue his homicide punishment according to law; if the Thai judicial organs do not pursue the crime of fraud insurance, then China can continue to pursue the remaining crimes.

The case of wife-killing abroad has aroused great public concern because of its bizarre plot and bad nature. Regardless of whether the Thai police choose to try or extradite the case, it is believed that the person waiting for the murder will eventually be a fair judgement from the law.

Source: Han Jiapeng_NN9841, responsible editor of Beijing News