Plan for enforcement unit in SAR defended

Top News | Maisy Mok 25 May 2020

The former chair of the Basic Law Committee, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, defended Beijing's plans to establish an enforcement unit in Hong Kong when the national security law is legislated, saying local law enforcement has no experience in handling matters of national security.

China announced on Thursday that it plans to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong - bypassing the Legislative Council - which is expected to ban sedition, secession and subversion against Beijing. It will also enable mainland national security agencies to operate in the SAR for the first time.

Leung, founding member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said the SAR only has experience in dealing with public security issues and so it is reasonable for the central government to enable national security agencies to operate in Hong Kong.

Speaking on radio, Leung said the presence of a mainland "enforcement mechanism unit" is not to be concerned about.

"China's national security laws have stated that the state's bureaus, military, and political parties are not allowed to violate the public's rights," she said.

She said the legislation would "clearly state" the powers allocated to the police force and the central government to enforce the law, adding that she recommends the Security Bureau and police consult with the mainland on the matter.

Leung said similar enforcement mechanisms exist in foreign states, such as the FBI and the CIA in the United States and the MI5 and the MI6 in Britain.

Aside from China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany also have existing laws against treason.

In the United States, offenders convicted of treason can face the death sentence or imprisonment for no less than five years, and fined more than US$10,000 (HK$78,000).

Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying, meanwhile, said if any incidents occur that threaten national security, the central government may take action upon request.

He also advocated the establishment of a domestic intelligence apparatus to safeguard national security similar to that of British Hong Kong's special branch.

In response to whether Hong Kong police will be involved in the enforcement of the national security law, Leung said it would depend on the legal provisions stated by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

"It is necessary for a state-level enforcement mechanism unit to be established in Hong Kong," he said, as the city's police are not able to deal with incidents that threaten national security in the SAR.

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