Maria Tam says Beijing firm on extradition law changes

Local | 17 May 2019 7:51 pm

The top Beijing official in Hong Kong has today urged local delegates to the NPC and the country’s top advisory body to fully support the Carrie Lam administration in its bid to alter extradition laws, but a member of the pro-business Liberal Party said she still has some reservations about the amendments, RTHK reports. 
The delegates were called to a meeting after the liaison office for the first time issued a statement on Wednesday expressing support for the controversial bill which will allow Hong Kong to surrender fugitives to any jurisdiction, including the mainland. The plan has spooked businessmen and activists, and has raised concerns globally. 
After the meeting, a deputy director of the Basic Law Committee, Maria Tam, quoted Wang as saying that the central government staunchly supports the administration's move to change the extradition laws. She said Wang Zhimin also said that the amendments were based on legal principles.

Tam said Wang urged those who were present at the meeting to support the bill. 

But former Liberal party chairwoman and a former delegate to the National People's Congress, Miriam Lau, said she still needed some more clarifications from the government. 

She said Wang gave an analysis of the current saga, and expressed his support for the legislation. But she said Wang didn’t exactly urge the delegates to support the bill.

"I have reservations on the bill and I have expressed it," she said.

"The bill is still in Legco and there is ample opportunity to actually discuss the bill with the government and if possible to make necessary amendments," Lau said. 

She noted that the government has already removed nine types of economic crimes from the bill. "We hope there will be further adjustments in that area so that more offences may be removed," she said.

Another NPC delegate, David Wong, said he doesn’t think Wang was trying to pressure the pro-government camp into supporting the bill. He felt it was more of an attempt to clarify things. 

Kennedy Wong, a CPPCC member, also explained that the purpose of the one hour and 45 minutes-long meeting was to clarify matters relating to what he said were “false allegations” over the government move.-Photo: RTHK

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