All-out show of support by top officials

Top News | Michael Shum 25 May 2020

Hong Kong's top officials yesterday went all-out to show support for Beijing's move to set up a national security law in the city, with Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu warning of an increase in the SAR's terrorism threat level that highlights the "national security threat."

The National People's Congress's decision to legislate the national security law under the Basic Law's Annex III means it will be implemented in the SAR following promulgation.

On his blog, Lee said the legislation will ensure the SAR's long-term stability, with the threat of terrorist attacks currently at "moderate" on the three-level scale.

"As secretary for security, I am gravely concerned regarding approximately 10 cases involving explosives and dangerous substances since last year," Lee said. "There are also signals of rising homegrown terrorism in Hong Kong."

He said police have found explosives of "different types which were used in terrorist attacks in other countries, and cause serious injuries and even death."

Lee added: "Bombs cannot identify their victims. People in the vicinity will be affected when a bomb explodes, which may cause serious disabilities or even death, as well as damage to buildings."

Lee said police had uncovered highly flammable and toxic chemicals in several incidents, as well as five firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle, and a large amount of ammunition.

"Homegrown terrorism puts everyone in danger," Lee warned.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor took to social media to defend the move to bypass the legislature. She said: "With a paralyzed legislature, lawmakers from the opposition went from endless filibustering to violence recently. Do you think the government has the ability to pass any national security laws in the Legislative Council?"

Lam said her government "will try our best to promote and explain the importance of such legislation to combat anti-Chinese powers and anti-government voices making groundless attacks."

Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung wrote of "an imminent need."

He said: "It is undeniable that there are loopholes in the SAR regarding national security and, thus, there is an imminent need for the NPC to set up laws to safeguard national security, which is lawful and constitutional."

The No 2 official added that law-abiding citizens and foreign investors have nothing to fear as long as they act in accordance with the law. "The legislation will not damage one country, two systems, nor will it change any of the rights and freedoms of Hongkongers."

Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said criticism of the move is baseless.

"National security has never been part of Hong Kong's autonomy, and indeed never a matter that concerns only the SAR," she said. "When threats to territorial integrity, secession and subversion of a nation persists, coupled with a lack of laws that address these, it is natural and indeed proper for the central authorities to take action."

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