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Joint Statement of All Members of the Election Committee Subsector Election (Legal) on the Fugitive Bill


Joint Statement of All Members of the Election Committee Subsector Election (Legal) on the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

1. We make this Joint Statement to express our deep concern over the proposals contained in the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 ("the Bill") to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, Cap. 503 ("FOO") and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, Cap. 525 ("MLAO").

全體法律界選委就《2019年逃犯及刑事事宜相互法律協助法例(修訂)條例草案》之聯合聲明(中文版)

2. We sincerely call upon the Government as well as the community to seriously consider the following points:

(1) The exclusion of the Mainland from any surrender arrangements with Hong Kong was a deliberate choice made by the legislature when enacting the FOO more than two decades ago rather than "loopholes"; 

(2) Such exclusion of the Mainland from the application of the FOO was a result of the grave concerns over the protection of human rights and the rule of law as well as certain unsatisfactory aspects of the criminal justice system in the Mainland. In proposing to now include the Mainland in the application of the FOO by way of "special surrender arrangements" in the Bill, the Government has failed to explain what circumstances have changed since 1997 to justify the departure from the deliberate choice of exclusion;

(3) The proposed "special surrender arrangements" will be initiated by the Chief Executive alone by way of issuing a certificate. The substantive provisions of each special arrangement will be formulated by the Chief Executive alone and will not be subject to any legislative scrutiny which is an important safeguard under the current mechanism of case-based surrender arrangements; 

(4) The statutory procedures for the proposed "special surrender arrangements" under the Bill do not offer adequate safeguards given the very low threshold for making an order of committal (namely, a prima facie case) and the limited role of the Court in reviewing and rejecting a request for surrender; 

(5) It is misleading to suggest that the rights of individuals concerned are protected as they still have access to procedural safeguards including applications for habeas corpus, bail, discharge in case of delay or judicial review, in that these are all irrelevant to the crucial question of whether those individuals' fundamental rights could be protected in the requesting jurisdiction after surrender; 

(6) Compared to the "special surrender arrangements" proposed in the Bill, the Government clearly has better alternatives in tackling the Taiwan homicide case, such as (i) amending the FOO and the MLAO to provide for case-based rendition arrangements to Taiwan only and entering into a memorandum of understanding with Taiwan for a one-off rendition of the suspect in question, or (ii) amending the Criminal Jurisdiction Ordinance, Cap. 461 and/or the Offences against the Person Ordinance, Cap. 212 so as to extend the jurisdiction of Hong Kong courts over homicide cases committed at places outside Hong Kong in which both the suspect and victim are Hong Kong permanent residents; and

(7) The proposed exemption of nine offences from the "special surrender arrangements" under the Bill not only fails to address the concerns that the public has expressed about surrendering individuals to the Mainland, but also demonstrates that those concerns are indeed justified.

3. On top of the points highlighted above, it is noteworthy that on 12 March 2019, the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan unanimously passed a motion requesting the Executive Yuan of Taiwan to negotiate only a bilateral arrangement for surrender of fugitives between Hong Kong and Taiwan. In particular, the motion expressed concerns over the risk imposed on Taiwan people in Hong Kong to being surrendered to the Mainland if the Bill were passed. This means that it is feasible to tackle the Taiwan homicide case by concluding long-term or case-based arrangements with Taiwan without extending the same to the Mainland. 

4. We urge the Security Bureau to withdraw the Bill which, if passed, would severely undermine the international community's confidence in Hong Kong's criminal justice system and its commitment to protecting human rights. 

April 8, 2019

陳景生 Chan King Sang Edward SC
戴啟思 Dykes Philip John SC
梁家傑 Leong Kah Kit Alan SC
夏偉志 Harris Graham Anthony SC
彭耀鴻 Pang Yiu Hung Robert SC
潘熙 Pun Hei Hectar SC
查錫我 Char Shik Ngor Stephen
鄭瑞泰 Cheng Shui Tai
張達明 Cheung Tat Ming Eric
張惠儀 Cheung Wai Yee Betty
張耀良 Cheung Yiu Leung
關尚義 Clancey John Joseph
何俊麒 Ho Chun Ki Frederick
何俊仁 Ho Chun Yan Albert
郭憬憲 Kwok King Hin Douglas
林洋鋐 Lam Kenneth
廖成利 Liu Sing Lee Bruce
文浩正 Man Ho Ching Jonathan
吳思諾 Ng Sze Nok Senia
潘淑瑛 Poon Suk Ying Debora
石書銘 Shek Randy Shu Ming
譚俊傑 Tam Chun Kit Jeffrey
韋智達 Vidler Michael John
黃鶴鳴 Wong Hok Ming Alan
王學今 Wong Huk Kam
黃國桐 Wong Kwok Tung Daniel
黃瑞紅 Wong Shui Hung Linda
黃宇逸 Wong Yu Yat Anson
葉海琅 Yip Hoi Long Richard
阮陳淑怡 Yuen Chan Suk Yee Helena


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