Legal scholar says 'co-location' allows mainland jurisdiction expansion

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Legal scholar Johannes Chan, (pictured), warned today that a proposed joint checkpoint with the mainland at West Kowloon is the thin edge of the wedge that will ultimately see mainland jurisdiction expand in Hong Kong.

The government is planning to lease out a quarter of the West Kowloon Terminus of the Express Rail Link to Guangzhou to the mainland, so joint immigration and customs controls can be carried out there. Mainland laws will apply within this area.

Chan, a former dean of law at the University of Hong Kong, said this ‘co-location’ arrangement clearly violates the Basic Law because the people’s constitutional rights simply won’t apply within this area.

He said even if the same mechanism is not used for other purposes, it’s still the start of the likely expansion of mainland jurisdiction within Hong Kong.

Even if the plan is limited to border control arrangements, Chan said, "it can readily be foreseen that as time passes, there will be demands for expansion of the services and if there are more trains coming in [and] the area is not sufficient to handle the people, we have to expand that area.”

"Once you have started that precedent is very difficult to resist further expansion”, he warned.

The scholar also accused the government of misleading the people by insisting that the leased out area will still belong to Hong Kong. 

"I can’t see how this area is still Hong Kong if it is governed by the mainland authority. The mainland authority apply to that place, the mainland security people will be enforcing the law to that place… what meaning would there be if you say the area is still within Hong Kong? It doesn’t make sense,” he said.-RTHK. Photo: RTHK