Hong Kong Pushes to Change Extradition Law Despite Opposition – Smart Media Magazine

Hong Kong Pushes to Change Extradition Law Despite Opposition

HONG KONG — After business groups had criticized a plan to ease rendition of fugitives between Hong Kong and jurisdictions including mainland China, the Hong Kong government pulled back, a little.

Last week, the Hong Kong authorities dropped from their proposal nine economic crimes that could prompt an extradition.

But on Wednesday, the government of Chief Executive Carrie Lam showed that it has no intention of stopping its broader push to overhaul its extradition laws, and introduced legislation intended to help Hong Kong send fugitives to jurisdictions that it does not have rendition agreements with.

John Lee, the Hong Kong secretary for security, said that the legislation would “block loopholes in the overall system of cooperation on criminal justice.”

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese control in 1997 under a framework of “one country, two systems,” which allows it to maintain its own local government and legal system.

Under existing law, Hong Kong can extradite people to places it does not have formal agreements with if the legislature approves such an action.

But government officials have said that the system is not feasible because the legislative process could alert targets give them time to flee before the authorities act. The proposed changes will allow Hong Kong’s chief executive, the city’s top official, to make such decisions instead.

“The surrender on a case basis is full of matters that make it not practicable,” Mr. Lee, the security secretary, said on Tuesday. “So to me, it is a loophole that I must plug.”

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