Hong Kong should revise its extradition law because several hundreds of felons who are wanted by mainland police are currently hiding in the city, said a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body.
Responding to inquiries by Hong Kong media about the planned law amendments, Chen Zhimin on Wednesday said there are more than 300 fugitives hiding in Hong Kong and the authorities “have the name of every single one” of them, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Chen, who was vice minister of public security from 2009 to 2017, said when he was in office, he discussed extradition arrangements between Hong Kong and the mainland with then security secretary Lai Tung-kwok and then undersecretary John Lee Ka-chiu, although no consensus was reached at the time.
Chen said there is no need to worry that mainland authorities would use criminal offense as a pretext to seek the extradition of those wanted for political reasons, calling such “worries and speculation” unnecessary and saying some people just hyped up such concerns.
Lai, who is also a CPPCC member, told reporters that the scope would be too narrow if the law amendment is limited to the murder case in Taiwan.
He also said the concerns expressed by the business sector regarding an extradition deal with the mainland were excessive as he believes the chances of Hong Kong businessmen being extradited to the mainland will not increase as a result of the revision.
Meanwhile, Lee, the incumbent secretary for security, told a media session on Wednesday that the administration has no idea how many people wanted for serious crimes on the mainland are hiding in Hong Kong. He was responding to a reporter’s question about Chen’s remarks.
Lee said the SAR government has not given up on signing a long-term agreement on the surrender of fugitives with the mainland.
It takes three years for Hong Kong to sign the relevant agreement with other jurisdictions the soonest, and 10 years the longest, Lee said.
Regarding the Taiwan murder case, Lee said he wants the local law to be amended so that restrictions barring him from talking with Taiwanese will be lifted.
“If that proposal is passed, then I will not be prohibited by law to go to talk with the Taiwan side,” Lee said.
The security chief said the government received more than 4,500 submissions on the matter during the 20-day public consultation that ended on March 4, with about 3,000 of them expressing support for the revision and some 1,400 opposing it.
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