Beijing voices support for amending fugitive law

Top News | Cindy Wan 16 May 2019

The fugitive law amendment has solid legal backing and meets the urgent needs of reality, Beijing's Liaison Office says.

The amendment was a topic discussed in an internal leadership meeting of the Liaison Office chaired by its director, Wang Zhimin.

A statement from the office said yesterday the meeting discussed how mainland security bodies have overcome legal barriers and surrendered 260 criminal suspects to Hong Kong since the handover.

These fugitives included the suspect in the murder of a Dragonair flight attendant in 2013, two men who attacked the former chief editor of local newspaper Ming Pao, Kevin Lau Chun-to, in 2014 and five people who allegedly robbed a Tsim Sha Tsui jewelry store last year.

The handover of these fugitives backed Hong Kong in combating crime and helped it become one of the safest cities in the world, it said.

Hong Kong has long-term extradition arrangements with 20 jurisdictions and signed mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with 30 countries and regions.

"But it does not have relevant arrangements with the mainland and there has not been a case of surrendering fugitives to the mainland since the return of Hong Kong," it said.

Amending fugitive laws can "establish close relationship on mutual assistance among regions" and it is incumbent upon Hong Kong to enact the Basic Law.

The proposed amendment was also described in the meeting as "an important measure and a necessary act" to safeguard and enhance Hong Kong's rule of law.

Members believed people will reject rumors spread by people "with an ulterior motive" and "man-made fears," while society will be able to understand the efforts the SAR government is making, the statement said.

Wang also delivered President Xi Jinping's remarks on national security from a conference in May in Beijing. He said the governments in Beijing and Hong Kong should do more to win the trust of SAR people.

Also in Beijing yesterday, Executive Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah met the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Zhang Xiaoming.

Tong said they discussed a proposal that would allow Hongkongers who infringed mainland laws in the mainland to face trial in Hong Kong, but Zhang did not support the idea because he thinks the suggestion does not comply with legal principals and the common law system.

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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