HONG KONG - The nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday voiced strong opposition against foreign intervention over the amendments to the extradition law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The amendments will allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives and criminal suspects on a case-by-case basis back to all jurisdictions around the world. Currently, Hong Kong has reached agreements with only 20 jurisdictions over the surrender of fugitive offenders.
We firmly oppose any foreign countries making a fuss over the issue and intervening in China’s internal affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Foreign countries have no right to intervene in the city’s extradition legislation as it is an internal affair of the HKSAR and China, MFA spokesman Lu Kang told the ministry’s press conference, responding to a question on Britain’s recent actions over the extradition bill.
Earlier, the UK’s Consul-General in Hong Kong Andrew Heyn expressed concern over the extradition law changes to senior SAR officials. These included Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah.
Moreover, 14 British parliament members urged the UK government to consider whether proposals to amend Hong Kong’s extradition laws could have implications for existing extradition arrangements between the two jurisdictions.
But Lu dismissed these concerns, saying the revisions are necessary to enhance cooperation between the HKSAR and other jurisdictions.
“We firmly oppose any foreign countries making a fuss over the issue and intervening in China’s internal affairs,” Lu said.
Last month, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR, in making its stance over the proposed amendments, said cross-border cooperation to combat crime was desired by the international community and served the interests of all parties.
It urged respect for the SAR’s rule of law and legislative process.
The SAR government earlier proposed revising the existing Fugitive Offenders Ordinance to plug legal loopholes and to transfer suspects to or from the Chinese mainland, Macao and Taiwan.
The revision was prompted by a murder in Taiwan last year. Taiwan was unable to prosecute a Hong Kong resident suspected of having killed his pregnant girl friend in Taiwan who then fled back to Hong Kong.
Last Wednesday, the extradition bill finished its first reading in the Legislative Council. Meanwhile, opposing the revision, the city’s Election Committee Subsector Election (Legal) issued a joint statement on Monday, calling on the government to withdraw the bill.
Facing opposition from representatives in the city’s legal sector, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said she believed the secretary for security will listen to suggestions and make the right decision.
Hong Kong, a society based on the rule of law, must have a mechanism to surrender suspects to or from other regions and countries, she noted.
Director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office Zhang Xiaoming met with a delegation from the Law Society of Hong Kong on Monday.
HONG KONG NEWS