Home > Media Release
The facts and nature of the "amendment bill" in Hong Kong
2019/08/23

The cause

The Hong Kong government proposed the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance because of an ordinary judicial case. In February 2018, Chen Tongjia, a Hong Kong resident, was suspected of murdering his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan before he fled back to Hong Kong. Hong Kong had no jurisdiction over this case. In order to transfer Chen Tongjia to Taiwan for trial, the Hong Kong SAR government proposed the amendments to the above-mentioned ordinances. So far Hong Kong hasn't signed any deals with China's mainland, Macao or Taiwan on the transfer of fugitives and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. By amending the ordinances, the SAR government hopes to cooperate with China's mainland, Macao and Taiwan in transferring criminal suspects and fugitives through special arrangements, which will help to deal with individual cases and plug the loopholes in the legal system, and enable Hong Kong to work better with other parts of China to jointly combat crimes and uphold rule of law and justice.

The purpose

Around the time when it returned to the mainland, Hong Kong had signed agreements with 20 countries on the transfer of fugitives and treaties with 32 countries on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. By proposing the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, the Hong Kong SAR government intends to incorporate its cooperation with other parts of China into the ordinances regarding fugitive handover and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Similar cooperation mechanisms have already been put in place between Hong Kong and foreign countries. This arrangement will not affect Hong Kong's judicial independence at all. "One country" is the prerequisite and foundation of the principle of "one country, two systems". As an important measure to implement this principle, different jurisdictions within China need to conduct mutual legal assistance so as to prevent safe havens for criminals.

Suspension of the amendments

Quite a number of Hong Kong citizens do not have much understanding of the mainland along with its legal system and judicial institution. Taking advantage of that, some people and media with malicious intentions started fear-mongering campaigns to stoke panic and block the bill's passage in the Legislative Council. Under such circumstances, several massive assemblies against the amendments have taken place in Hong Kong since June this year. In order to solicit broader public opinions and to restore calm as early as possible, the SAR government decided on June 15 to suspend its work on the amendment bill. The relevant legislative process also came to a full stop. The central government supports, respects and understands this decision.

Suggest To A Friend:   
Print