Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu attends a press conference at Central Government Offices in Hong Kong on Nov 28, 2022. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Monday that he will request the National People's Congress Standing Committee to interpret Article 65 of the National Security Law for Hong Kong after the city's top court ruled in favor of allowing Jimmy Lai Chee-ying to have a British lawyer defend him in his upcoming trial.
In a press conference, Lee said he will make the request in a report he will submit to the central government.
Lee said he hopes the NPCSC will clarify whether lawyers or barristers who are not fully registered in the city can be permitted to participate in national security law cases under any circumstances
Lee met the press hours after the city’s Court of Final Appeal handed down a ruling rejecting a leave application by the Department of Justice against the High Court’s decision to allow British King’s Counsel Timothy Owen to defend Lai in his national security trial, which is set to begin on Thursday. Lai faces four charges, including conspiracy to collude with foreign forces to endanger national security.
ALSO READ: HK's top court allows British barrister to defend Lai
Lee said that, as the city’s CE and head of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of HKSAR, he is accountable to the central government on affairs relating to safeguarding national security.
Under the current regulation, he said, the SAR has no effective way to make sure that foreign lawyers will not leak State secrets, nor is the city able to ensure that foreign lawyers will not be subject to influence, coercion or pressure from foreign governments, organizations or individuals.
Lee said he hopes the NPCSC will clarify whether lawyers or barristers who are not fully registered in the city can be permitted to participate in national security law cases under any circumstances.
READ MORE: National security at risk if UK counsel allowed for Lai
Lee said the central government on Sunday asked him to submit a report on safeguarding national security and he will submit it as soon as possible.
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