Date
23 November 2017
Deliberation on the co-location plan for the Express Rail Link has been blocked since last week due to democrats’ filibustering, only to begin on Wednesday. Photo: HKEJ
Deliberation on the co-location plan for the Express Rail Link has been blocked since last week due to democrats’ filibustering, only to begin on Wednesday. Photo: HKEJ

Legco to vote on co-location plan despite democrats’ objections

The Legislative Council is likely to vote on Thursday on the co-location plan proposed by the government for the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link in spite of strong objections from the pan-democrats.

Critics insist that the plan violates the Basic Law because it will grant mainland officers full jurisdiction, including law-enforcement powers, on trains and platforms, as well as the border clearance zone.

Deliberation on the plan, which is based on a non-binding motion moved by the government to highlight its benefits through debates, has been stalled since last week due to democrats’ filibustering, only to begin on Wednesday after a motion moved by lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching from HK First for adjournment was vetoed, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

More than 20 lawmakers have expressed their opinions on the matter.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said although the government has been harping on the benefits of the express rail link, a public poll conducted in August showed that more than 30 percent of the respondents have concerns over the cross-border transport system.

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang said arrangements under the government plan violate Articles 18, 19 and 22 of the Basic Law.

Citing several public polls, lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun said the public’s objection to the plan is not as strong as democrats have suggested. He said legal issues concerning the plan should be left for the courts to decide.

According to a pro-establishment lawmaker, debates on the plan must be completed in Thursday’s meeting; otherwise, they will have to resume two weeks later, because Legco is scheduled to go through the motion of thanks to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s policy address next week.

The pro-establishment camp will do its best to make sure the plan can be put to vote on Thursday, the lawmaker said.

Legco President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen told media after Wednesday’s meeting that he expected voting to be done on Thursday, adding that whether the session will be extended depends on the situation.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said the government will continue to endeavor to see the plan passed by lawmakers.

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TL/JC/CG

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