Date
13 November 2019
No matter what the SAR administration’s motives may be, the objective reality is that the proposed law changes have become a cause for concern in the community. Photo: HKEJ
No matter what the SAR administration’s motives may be, the objective reality is that the proposed law changes have become a cause for concern in the community. Photo: HKEJ

What is Lam’s true motive in pressing for extradition bill?

Ever since the government put forward its proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, it has insisted that the initiative is aimed at addressing the suspected murder committed by Hong Kong citizen Chan Tong-kai in Taiwan last year, as well as plugging legal loopholes in our city’s extradition laws.

But as the government has continued to reject calls for handling the Taiwan murder case first while deferring the issue of plugging the legal loopholes to a later date, it appears that what the government is truly prioritizing is “plugging legal loopholes” rather than bringing Chan to justice.

That has given rise to speculations about the true motives behind the administration’s legislative initiative.

In fact, there are several views in political circles about this question.

Some sources say Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is dead set on changing the law because she has been profoundly moved by the letters that the victim’s parents have written to her.

Lam then asked the Security Bureau to study how to deal with the matter.

However, as a seasoned pro-establishment figure has pointed out, the SAR government probably would never be so determined in pushing for the law changes if Beijing had not been pulling the strings behind the scene.

The pro-establishment figure went on to say that an official with the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau recently told him in private that Washington is actually not too worried about US citizens in Hong Kong becoming targets of the extradition bill once it passed.

That’s because, the US official explained, Washington is well aware that Beijing just wants to run after corrupt mainland bureaucrats who are currently seeking refuge in Hong Kong.

Every year, China is seeking US cooperation in trying to apprehend some 300 corrupt mainland bureaucrats who have fled overseas, the pro-establishment figure quoted the American official as saying.

No matter what the SAR administration’s motives may be, the objective reality is that the proposed law changes have become a cause for concern in the community.

Some people in the pro-establishment camp are now saying that the entire saga has already evolved from a debate over legislative amendments into a public backlash against the mainland judicial system, and they believe this has only toughened the government’s resolve to press for the passage of the extradition bill.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 4

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/CG

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.