Matthew Cheung hits back at foreign criticisms over extradition plans

Local | 9 Apr 2019 1:05 pm

Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said today that international concerns over the the government’s plan to amend extradition laws are “not entirely warranted”.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, had said that the Hong Kong public weren't consulted over plans to allow the transfer of crime suspects to places with which the city has no extradition treaties.

The UK's Foreign Affairs Committee also warned that the planned legislation will damage Hong Kong’s autonomy and rule of law, RTHK reported.

But speaking to reporters before attending the weekly Executive Council meeting, Cheung dismissed these comments, saying the administration is determined to plug a loophole in the legal system that could make Hong Kong a haven for criminals.

He said there are a wide range of human rights and procedural safeguards in the proposed arrangement.

All the concerns in the public arena, in fact raised by the international community, are not entirely warranted. If you look carefully into the entire thinking, we have got pretty clear safeguards before a decision is made to allow somebody to be extradited. And these safeguards are real safeguards, they are not imaginary safeguards”, he said.

"We must not try to think of various scenarios which are not really real in real life."

Although the new legislation will allow one-off extradition deals on a case-by-case basis with any jurisdiction in the world, critics have raised the alarm about the risk of Hongkongers being handed over to the mainland, even if they are wanted for political reasons.

A bill to change existing legislation on extraditions is currently going through the Legislative Council.

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