Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu announced on Monday the SAR government would skip the bills committee set up to scrutinize the extradition law amendment bill after weeks of obstruction by the opposition camp in the Legislative Council. The government plans to take the bill directly to a full LegCo meeting for the continuation of the second reading on June 12, as time is running out for these amendments to become law so justice can be served. The move may not be an ideal way to complete the usual legislative procedures but it is allowed by LegCo Rules of Procedure and House Rules. The government was forced to make this difficult decision by the unreasonable actions of the opposition camp.
It is widely known that the main purpose of introducing the extradition law amendment bill now is to pave the way for Hong Kong Police to hand over an SAR man to Taiwan to stand trial for allegedly killing his Hong Kong girlfriend during a trip to Taiwan last year. It is also meant to plug some loopholes in the two existing ordinances on fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with other jurisdictions. This is clearly a matter of justice for not only one particular family but also for Hong Kong society. The opposition camp boasts having the “moral support” from a few Western governments, and Washington in particular, because the US will do anything to keep on side with Taiwan for its own strategic benefits.
As for others who joined the anti-extradition law amendment bill chorus, such as some members of the local business community who operate on the mainland, their “fears” about the mainland’s judicial system and rule of law are completely unwarranted — particularly if they sincerely abide by mainland laws. If they have been lawful on the mainland so far, what sound reason do they think mainland authorities have to prosecute them in future — let alone requesting their extradition? The same goes for foreign, especially US, business people on the mainland: Just because their governments make irresponsible remarks, and even tell lies, it does not mean they cannot make their own decisions about lawfully doing business on the mainland.
The amended extradition laws will also have sufficient safeguards to ensure only criminal cases, punishable by at least three years of imprisonment in Hong Kong, will be considered by SAR courts for extradition requests. The truth is the opposition camp and those who parrot Washington’s views are being used by the US government to serve US interests. In that sense, the bills committee is no more than a soapbox for badly behaved opposition lawmakers. Since it cannot serve the interests of Hong Kong society, the government has every reason to move forward and to stop wasting precious time.
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