Violent outbursts unfolded on June 10 on the steps of the Legislative Council and the streets of Wan Chai, grabbing the attention of every Hong Kong citizen who questioned whether the “illegal” Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement would occur again.
The General League of the People’s Republic of China strongly condemned those who deliberately created violent conflicts and fully supported the decisive action of Hong Kong police to maintain social order. They also demanded that the Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) government strengthens law enforcement and punish criminals. As a lawyer, I also appeal to all sectors of society to express their opinions rationally and in a law-abiding way, regardless of their different views. We should never use violent and illegal means.
Hong Kong is a pluralistic society. It is normal for people to have different views on a single issue as different opinions should be expressed. Despite the hot weather and the long wait during the rally on June 9, people were continued to express themselves. They took to the streets to declare their opinions and actively participate in social affairs.
However, before you oppose the bill, we must first look at the specific content of the revised draft of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance so that there is a constructive basis for discussion. I would like to ask the organizers of the rally: how many people in the street, who are protesting against the bill, have read the contents of the draft thoroughly? How many people can comprehend the legal principles and rigorous procedures for the transfer of fugitives? How many people understand that the Hong Kong government and courts have the power to decide whether a fugitive is to be transferred? How many people have realized that the amendments to the ordinance mainly target fugitives who have committed felony crimes that require up to seven years in prison in Mainland China, Taiwan and Macau? How many people know that this does not affect the law-abiding people of Hong Kong?
I have noticed that when discussing why they oppose the ordinance with the media, members of the public have expressed similar opinions.
First, they doubt that this form of legislation is in need of change and question whether there are ulterior motives behind this sudden change.
Secondly, the opinion is that the main reason for the rally is the opposition to the extradition bill to China.
Third, people worry that if the law is passed, the next generation will have no opportunities.
In fact, these are some major misconceptions and unnecessary worries. The government submitted a revised draft to the Legislative Council at the end of February. However, some members of the government have delayed the legislation, with the bill committee not even being able to elect a committee chairman. After four months of no progress, the Legislative Council has other obligations and will not be able to revisit the bill. Therefore, the Government’s move to transfer the draft to the General Assembly on Wednesday is already a last resort. As for the concerns regarding extradition, I find that it is a false issue. Hong Kong is a society ruled by law, and everybody must respect it. We are a country with the Mainland. Why would it be legal for criminals to flee to Hong Kong unpunished?
It has been said for many years that it is understandable that people may have no faith in the legal system and may be worried about Mainland China demanding Cantonese people to be handed over. However, they have neglected the progress of the legal system in the Mainland. Moreover, the surrender of fugitives have been double checked by the government of Hong Kong and people should have confidence in the government. The Chief Executive will review every case of transfer and determine whether the procedure should even be initiated. I believe the courts will be able to deal with them impartially and after inspection of all evidence, make a decision.
Those who are transferred can and will receive adequate human rights protection and can also submit personal protection to the court. These complicated legal systems ensure that no innocent people are killed and that real criminals will not be let off the hook.
I remember that in the past year, the conflict was surrounding the “One country two systems” issue. After the West Kowloon High School Station was opened, hundreds of thousands of Mainland tourists flooded Hong Kong every day. People began to worry about the so-called “Mainland China public security” which allowed Mainland China to abduct people randomly?
Who else has been abducted by the Mainland for no reason? Therefore, everyone needs to reevaluate the facts and determine the truth. There is no need to worry. We are all Hong Kong natives who were born and raised in this beautiful place. The amendments are made to block legal loopholes, combat cross-border crimes and to make Hong Kong safer. Why do we not support the government in making a more secure society? ●
作者為律師、「保公義撐修例大聯盟」召集人 | Author Dr. Kennedy Wong, a graduate of the University of Kent, is a solicitor of the supreme court of Hong Kong. After being admitted as a solicitor, he became a managing partner of Philip K H Wong, Kennedy Y H Wong & Co. in the 1990s. Dr. Wong is also the Chairman of the Hong Kong United Youth Association and the All-China Youth Federation. He was a part-time member of the Hong Kong government’s Central Policy Unit and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which is Beijing’s top political advisory body.
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