John Lee says unfair attention to possible China extraditions

Local | 15 Feb 2019 3:03 pm

Security Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu said today that it was unfair for critics of proposed legislation to make it easier for Hong Kong to hand fugitives over to other jurisdictions to focus solely on potential extraditions to the mainland, RTHK reports.

The changes planned will apply to all jurisdictions with which the SAR doesn't have a formal extradition treaty, and the government has cited a Taiwan murder case last year – where both the victim and prime suspect were Hongkongers – as an example of why amendments to the law are needed.

Pan-democrats, however, have been voicing concerns about what it will mean for Hong Kong residents wanted by the mainland. 

They have warned that the judicial system on the mainland is not comparable to that of the SAR, and have raised fears that people wanted for political reasons could easily be accused by Beijing of economic crimes instead to get round human rights safeguards.

Responding to such concerns in Legco, Lee said a new arrangement is needed to protect the safety of Hong Kong people and legislators are wrong to consider only the implications regarding cross-border renditions.

"We are not targeting one, single jurisdiction. We can see that there is a loophole and we are applying the same standards in dealing with any jurisdiction in the world. So it's about an individual case extradition arrangement," Lee said.

"It sets out very clearly that if there is a request made to surrender a fugitive, the crime concerned must not be political in nature. The request should not be made based on the person's race, religion, nationality or political opinions."

The Security Bureau presented proposals for amending the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance in a paper to Legco on Wednesday.

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