HK addresses concerns over legislation
The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said yesterday that it would continue to address concerns over the amendments to the HKSAR’s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance through calm and rational discussion.
In response to a public procession on Sunday over the amendments, a HKSAR government spokesman said that throughout the past four months, the HKSAR government had listened attentively to different views and responded positively to some suggestions.
“As a result, two sets of amendments were made, respectively before and after the presentation of the bill (to the Legislative Council),” the spokesman said.
“These have provided additional safeguards which have been welcomed by concerned parties and have effectively allayed most of those earlier worries.”
The Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019, proposed by the HKSAR government, was tabled at the Legislative Council for discussion in April. The Second Reading debate on the bill will resume tomorrow.
The spokesman stressed that the bill was prompted by the murder of a Hong Kong resident in China’s Taiwan, which brought into sharper focus deficiencies of the existing regime in dealing with mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
“If these deficiencies were not addressed, Hong Kong would continue to be a bolt-hole for criminals, putting residents’ safety at risk and disregarding our responsibilities in the fight against cross-border and transnational crimes,” he said.