Extradition law must be retroactive

April 16, 2019

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she believes society will not accept proposed extradition law changes unless they have a retroactive effect.


Speaking ahead of today’s Executive Council meeting, Mrs Lam reiterated the two purposes of amending the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance.


“One is of course to provide a legal basis for us to deal with the Taiwan case, the other is to plug a loophole in the existing arrangements for the return or the surrender of fugitive offenders.


“The first objective of course, will have a very critical time element.”


While noting the urgency to deal with the Taiwan murder case suspect, Mrs Lam said the Government will continue with the law amendment exercise even if the law changes cannot be made in time.


“But even in the very undesirable circumstances that we could not have the legal basis in time for us to deal with the Taiwan case, we still have to tackle the second objective, and that is to improve the current legal framework for us to discharge an international obligation that will help to safeguard and uphold the rule of law and justice in Hong Kong. So we will continue to do that exercise.”


Mrs Lam hopes the Legislative Council will speed up its scrutiny of the bill, adding the Government will listen to lawmakers’ views.


However, she said suggestions to make the law non-retroactive will allow offenders who commit past crimes to escape justice, which she believes would be unacceptable to society.

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