Winner 1996

Passport to Kill


For more than a decade, law enforcement officials have faced the problem of extraditing criminals, including a number of admitted murderers, from the Dominican Republic to stand trial in New York for their alleged crimes. According to reporter and producer Ti-Hua Chang, who conducted an extensive, exhaustive and exclusive investigation into the situation, as many as 200 Dominicans may have fled justice after committing murders in New York. As Mr. Chang reveals in hard-hitting detail, blame can be placed both here and abroad. American officials often sidestep the issue by stating that an old treaty forbids criminals to be extradited between the two nations. At the same time, he documents how corrupt Dominican police and political leaders routinely augment their meager salaries with kickbacks from the criminals in return for granting immunity from extradition. Reported in eight segments, Passport to Kill originated with an unusually lengthy and in-dept 15-minute report featuring interviews and footage from both New York and the Dominican Republic. Chang’s persistence, along with the election of a new Vice President in the island nation, have led to a change in the country’s extradition laws and the arrest of several alleged murderers. News director Paula Walker, general manager Dennis Swanson, and executive producer Tom Kirby are also deserving of mention for their support and encouragement of this kind of important local reporting. For its far-reaching coverage of an important matter of local concern, a Peabody goes to WNBC-TV for Passport to Kill.