Lam smooths it over with envoys

Top News | Phoenix Un 6 Jun 2019

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor met with consuls and representatives of 70 countries in Hong Kong to explain the fugitive law amendment, after which US consul general Kurt Tong said the meeting had been useful.

It was after Lam said last week that foreign consuls were opposed to the fugitive law amendment because she did not explain the bill to them in person.

Apart from Tong, the head of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao Carmen Cano, Germany consul general Dieter Lamle and the consuls general of other countries such as France and South Africa, went to the government headquarters yesterday afternoon to meet with Lam and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah.

The meeting lasted about 90 minutes, during which the consuls general were given amendment document and pamphlets.

Ricky Chim Kim-lun, son of former legislator Chim Pui-chung, also attended as the honorary consul of Papua New Guinea.

"We are very supportive ... [of the amendment]. The chief executive gave a very thorough explanation to major countries' inquiry, including Kurt Tong, and another from the UK," Chim said. "Extradition procedures to be followed, and whether the court considers cases."

After the meeting, Lam immediately met with chambers of commerce of foreign countries such as France, Italy, Germany and Japan.

The amendment has raised international concerns, with the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao making a rare move to issue a demarche that it might affect the bilateral relationship between EU and Hong Kong.

The British and Canadian governments, as well as some US congressmen, had also shown concern over the amendment.

Chaos broke out anew in the Legislative Council over the amendment earlier yesterday as pro-democracy lawmakers stopped Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu from leaving a security panel meeting.

With the bills committee stage circumvented, the panel on security special meeting was the last meeting before the bill resumes second reading on June 12.

Pan-democrats, led by Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung of the Labour Party, said mainland laws are never practiced as written.

"The mainland's Political and Legal Affairs Commission is led by the ruling party, and all cases are discussed in the commission to come up with a conclusion, that is then handed to courts for trials, and there is no presumption of innocence," Cheung said.

Lee did not respond to the question about the Political and Legal Affairs Commission, and instead cited the judicial independence ranking by the World Economic Forum.

"It includes 140 countries, and China ranks 45th. If you separate the list into three parts, you will find China among the highest one-third," Lee said.

Hong Kong, in the same ranking, ranked eighth.

Dennis Kwok Wing-hang of the legal sector immediately retorted: "China was ranked 121st out of 126 by the World Economic Forum in terms of human rights protection."

As the meeting ended at 10.30am, pan-democrats Claudia Mo Man-ching, Gary Fan Kwok-wai and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick tailed Lee to voice out their opinions and hold slogans against the fugitive law amendment. They even blocked Lee from entering the lift.

Lee had to walk downstairs to another floor. But the pan-democrats again tried to stop him from leaving.

Lee finally went into a waiting room escorted by guards.

Fan suffered from scratches and bleeding to his fingers.

He said there were some unidentified sharp objects that caused the wounds.

Fan's wounds were bandaged by legislator Kwok Ka-ki, who is also a doctor.

A security guard also suffered an injury to his left leg and was sent to Queen Mary Hospital. He was later discharged.

Security panel chairman Gary Chan Hak-kan strongly condemned the pan-democrats for blocking Lee from leaving.

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