Civil servant groups support amending fugitives laws

Local | 21 May 2019 5:22 pm

Three civil servant groups issued a joint statement backing the government's proposed changes to extradition laws, earning a rebuke from the head of Legco's public service panel who insisted government workers must remain neutral, RTHK reports.
The Government Employees Association, Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union and the Chinese Academy of Governance Hong Kong Alumni Association said there is a legal loophole that needs to be plugged as soon as possible. 
Echoing a claim made by government officials, the three groups warned that if this "loophole" is not plugged, the territory risks becoming a haven for overseas criminals.
The groups also condemned opposition lawmakers, accusing them of disrupting Legco's work on the extradition bill. 
But Gary Fan from the Neo Democrats, who chairs Legco's public service panel, said it was inappropriate for the associations to issue such a statement.
"The role of the civil servants is very significant and they should stay neutral, so they can give professional or technical expertise for the government on the 'where', 'when' and 'how' to implement a particular policy," Fan said.
"It is not the job of civil servants to worry about how to formulate public policy."
The proposed legal amendments have proved to be highly controversial, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets last month to protest against the plan. Critics fear the new laws will be abused by Beijing to seek the surrender of Communist Party opponents.

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