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Police’s National Security Department today arrested a woman and a man, aged 63 and 65 respectively, on Hong Kong Island for conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice. Investigations revealed that before officers conducted a search of the premises with a court warrant, the two arrestees were suspected of taking away exhibits related to a case in an attempt to obstruct the police investigation. The case involves collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan concluded his European visit with a tour of the United Nations International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands. Yesterday morning, Mr Cheung called on the Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Tan Jian. They discussed Hong Kong’s latest legal developments and how the city can give full play to “going global and attracting foreign investment”. This was followed by a visit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations responsible for resolving legal disputes between states in accordance with international law. At a meeting with ICJ judges Xue Hanqin - the court’s first female Chinese judge - and Hilary Charlesworth, Mr Cheung gave an update of Hong Kong’s latest legal developments and the Department of Justice’s work. The trio also exchanged views on the use of various dispute resolution mechanisms in handling international disputes. Mr Cheung noted that Hong Kong, as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, attaches great importance to nurturing legal talent, and will continue to organise a wide range of capacity building activities and academic conferences. He also hoped the ICJ judges could come to share their insights. He then visited the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) to discuss with its Secretary-General Hab Marcin Czepelak the future development of resolving disputes by way of arbitration. Established in 1899, the PCA is an intergovernmental organisation with over 120 contracting parties which aims to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states. The deputy justice chief highlighted that under “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong enjoys a unique advantage in having established a comprehensive framework for mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters with the Mainland. On arbitration, the city has concluded three arrangements with the Mainland, which include those concerning mutual enforcement of arbitral awards as well as mutual assistance in court-ordered interim measures in aid of arbitral proceedings. These arrangements will render arbitral proceedings seated in Hong Kong to have unique advantages, Mr Cheung added. Given the limitless opportunities brought about to the international communities by the national strategies including the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the Greater Bay Area Outline Development Plan and the Belt & Road Initiative, Hong Kong, being the only common law jurisdiction in China, will continue to enhance the mutual legal assistance framework with the Mainland. This would consolidate its status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-pacific region. Mr Cheung also told the PCA that the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress is scheduled to be held in Hong Kong in May next year. He pointed out that holding the largest regular international arbitration conference of its kind worldwide in the city is a vote of confidence in Hong Kong as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, and he hoped to welcome PCA members to Hong Kong for the ICCA 2024.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan visited Geneva, Switzerland, and The Hague, the Netherlands, on March 9 to promote the unique strengths of Hong Kong's legal system, which are conducive to the optimisation of international investment and business environment. Accompanied by Permanent Representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Laurie Lo, Mr Cheung met WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Geneva to exchange views on various topics of mutual interest and lay down a more solid foundation for future work. He said Hong Kong, China, as a founding member of the WTO, has for years been a firm supporter of a rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at the core, and is one of the most proactive and constructive WTO members. In addition to thanking the WTO for its support to and acknowledgement of the city, Mr Cheung said Hong Kong, being the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, will continue to participate vigorously in and promote the reform of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body. During his visit in Geneva, Mr Cheung also called on the Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary & Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the United Nations Office at Geneva & other International Organizations in Switzerland Chen Xu to introduce the latest legal developments in Hong Kong and learn more about the latest situation of the United Nations and other international organisations. He emphasised that Hong Kong, as the only common law jurisdiction in the country, would proactively assist in the country's foreign-related legal affairs. After arriving in The Hague, the last stop of his Europe visit, Mr Cheung attended the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) reception hosted by China for over 200 delegates from around 90 member states attending the meeting of the HCCH's Council on General Affairs & Policy. Speaking at the reception, he updated the participants on the rule of law situation in Hong Kong and stressed that some media reports on "one country, two systems" and the enactment of the National Security Law in recent years have been baseless and unsound. He also highlighted that the Constitution of the PRC gives the legislative backing and source of power for the Basic Law and provides a solid legal basis for and the constitutional framework of the Hong Kong SAR, adding that the central government fully supports Hong Kong to maintain the common law system. Mr Cheung reiterated that Hong Kong's rule of law remains robust. Not only has the National Security Law restored the law and order of Hong Kong society, but also fortified the city's existing and solid legal inheritance, making Hong Kong the most desirable foothold of trade and investment in the entire Asia-Pacific region now and in the future. Meanwhile, Mr Cheung thanked the HCCH for choosing Hong Kong as the venue for hosting the sixth HCCH Asia Pacific Week in September this year to celebrate its 130th anniversary, which signified a vote of confidence by the HCCH to Hong Kong's rule of law. Noting that the event will be the first large-scale celebration of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, he welcomed everyone to visit Hong Kong to witness the vibrancy, diversity, and prosperity of the events capital. At the reception, Mr Cheung exchanged views with HCCH Secretary General Christophe Bernasconi, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the PRC to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Tan Jian and ambassadors from other countries. Moreover, he pointed out that Hong Kong is committed to the development of private international law and hopes that the city and the HCCH can forge closer co-operation.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, on the third stop of his Europe visit, to strengthen co-operation between the Department of Justice and international organisations, and promote Hong Kong’s legal system. Mr Cheung first visited the Advisory Centre on World Trade Organization Law where he met its Executive Director Niall Meagher and senior management to exchange views on enhancing co-operation. He then attended a reception hosted by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in Geneva for a dialogue with representatives to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from different countries and economies as well as business and industry leaders in Europe, with a focus on how Hong Kong leverages its strengths to contribute to the rules-based multilateral trading system. Addressing the reception, Mr Cheung stressed that Hong Kong, China has always been a staunch supporter of the rules-based international trading system. He also noted that the city has participated in a number of disputes brought by different WTO members, which has helped clarify important legal principles of WTO law and enhance members’ understanding of international trade law. Mr Cheung also pointed out that in the case brought by Hong Kong, China against the US in relation to the origin marking requirement imposed on Hong Kong products, the panel established under the WTO Dispute Settlement Body has ruled that such a requirement is inconsistent with the most-favoured-nation treatment requirement under the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade 1994. The panel also completely refuted the US’ invocation of a security exception. This ruling has fully affirmed the status of Hong Kong, China as a separate customs territory within the WTO, he added. Given that Hong Kong’s investment and business environment has become stable and more vibrant following the implementation of the National Security Law, Mr Cheung encouraged enterprises and organisations to set up offices in Hong Kong to take full advantage of the unique strengths and opportunities offered by Hong Kong as the only common law jurisdiction within China under “one country, two systems”. After the reception, Mr Cheung called on Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary & Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the WTO Li Chenggang, and said that Hong Kong would proactively create strong impetus for the overseas development of its diversified legal and dispute resolution services, consolidating the city’s status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr Cheung will continue his visit in Geneva before departing for The Hague, the Netherlands.
Police’s National Security Department has arrested two women in two separate cases for contravening the National Security Law. In an operation conducted on Hong Kong Island today, Police arrested a 65-year-old woman for suspected collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, contravening Article 29 of the National Security Law. The other woman, aged 23, was arrested yesterday in Sau Mau Ping on suspicion of inciting secession in contravention of Articles 20 and 21 of the security law. She was suspected of publishing online posts that incite Hong Kong independence.
The Fire Services Department (FSD) today said it will conduct inspections at a Tsim Sha Tsui construction site where a fire broke out on March 2, to ensure that fire protection measures are complied with. The department made the remarks in response to media enquiries about the No. 4 alarm fire that broke out at the construction site at 11 Middle Road in Tsim Sha Tsui last week. In accordance with the construction progress of construction sites, FSD officers will conduct inspections and provide appropriate advice based on the Fire Services Ordinance to ensure that the responsible people comply with the requirements in the department's circular letter Fire Protection Measures in Construction Sites, and that the facilities are in efficient working order at all times. When the facilities are damaged or require a temporary shutdown or alteration, the responsible people should notify the local fire station as soon as possible and put in place appropriate alternative measures. The circular letter stipulates that construction sites are required to provide water relaying facilities to facilitate the department to speedily fight fires that have broken out in high-rise buildings. If the requirements are not properly met, the department will issue a fire hazard abatement notice to the responsible people in accordance with the Fire Services (Fire Hazard Abatement) Regulation requiring them to abate the fire hazard within a specified time. Non-compliance may lead to prosecution. According to the circular letter, a construction site should provide water relaying facilities depending on the height of the building under construction, which requires water relaying facilities if it is 30m or above. If the design height of the building is between 30m and 80m, the contractor should install a closed-circuit type water relaying system or put in place fire pumps on the appropriate floors. The contractor should install a closed-circuit type water relaying system to ensure the safety of the construction site if the design height of the building exceeds 80m. The FSD noted that during a firefighting operation, the water supply source comes from fire hydrants on the street. At the Tsim Sha Tsui site, fire personnel found that the fire pump on the ground floor did not function properly. The department has already issued a fire hazard abatement notice to the site contractor according to the regulation. During its last inspection of the site in August last year, FSD officers conducted tests on the water relaying facilities to ensure that they were functioning properly and provided fire safety advice to the site's responsible person. While the fire is still being probed by the department's Fire Investigation Group, evidence at this stage indicates that the cause of the blaze was not suspicious.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan continued his Europe trip on March 7 by calling on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Vienna, Austria. The visit aimed to strengthen co-operation with UNCITRAL, in particular the promotion of online dispute resolution under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the nurturing of Hong Kong talent in the practice of foreign-related legal affairs, with a view to contributing to China’s relevant work and consolidating Hong Kong’s status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, the Department of Justice (DoJ) explained. During the meeting, Mr Cheung and UNCITRAL Secretary Anna Joubin-Bret discussed further collaboration between the two sides. Consequently, it was agreed that the 5th Asia Pacific Judicial Summit will be held in Hong Kong on November 6 and 7. As a highlight of this year’s Hong Kong Legal Week, the summit will enable judges and legal practitioners from different places to gather and exchange views on topics such as dispute resolution on investment, the department added. Mr Cheung also thanked UNCITRAL for its support in its secondment programme with the DoJ, which enables the department’s officers to take part in UNCITRAL’s work and enhance their knowledge of international legal matters, strengthening Hong Kong’s capacity in foreign-related legal affairs. Learning that the seconded officers from Hong Kong with common law expertise have played a positive role in UNCITRAL’s work, he highlighted that this is a vivid example of Hong Kong’s unique strengths under “one country, two systems”. Separately, Mr Cheung called on Li Song, who is Permanent Representative & Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Vienna and Other International Organizations in Vienna; and Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Austria Qi Mei. He updated them on the latest legal developments in Hong Kong, and took the opportunity to learn about the recent situation in various aspects of the United Nations and Austria. After a day’s stay in Vienna, Mr Cheung departed for Geneva, Switzerland.
Police today received from the Mainland authorities, at the Shenzhen Bay Port, a 29-year-old female suspect in connection with a murder case. The local woman was suspected of having assisted an offender of a murder case in Tai Po in which a 28-year-old woman died. She fled to the Mainland after the killing occurred. Police sought the assistance of the Ministry of Public Security, Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department and Shenzhen Public Security Bureau. She was eventually arrested on the Mainland. Police said the arrest of the suspect on the Mainland demonstrated the joint determination of Hong Kong and the Mainland in combating crimes and upholding the rule of law.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan began his Europe visit programme in Rome, Italy, to strengthen the collaborative relationship between Hong Kong and the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT). Mr Cheung first called on Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of Italy Jia Guide. He thanked the embassy for its long-standing support for the Department of Justice (DoJ) in seeking more international legal and dispute resolution institutions to set up offices in Hong Kong. He added that as the only common law jurisdiction, Hong Kong would proactively assist in the country's foreign-related legal affairs. Mr Cheung then met Secretary-General of UNIDROIT Prof Ignacio Tirado and the organisation’s management to discuss more collaboration opportunities between the institute and Hong Kong. Both sides deliberated on the possible theme of the 2024 Asia-Pacific Private International Law Summit, such as digital assets. During the meeting, they discussed about deepening collaboration between UNIDROIT and Hong Kong, including having agreed to explore the setting up of a liaison office in Hong Kong, which will help the institute to promote its work in the Asia-Pacific region on the one hand, and further enhance the city's status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region on the other. Later in the day, Mr Cheung attended a conference co-organised by UNIDROIT and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of Italy for local businesses and legal communities on promoting cross-border investment through transnational legal standards. While delivering a keynote speech at the conference, Mr Cheung emphasised that Hong Kong will fully leverage its unique advantages of enjoying the strong support of the motherland and being closely connected to the world under “one country, two systems” in better integrating into the country's overall development. He also highlighted Hong Kong's strong legal foundation and institutional advantages which would facilitate international investment and trade. Moreover, Mr Cheung briefed the participants on the latest situation of the implementation of the National Security Law in the city, particularly on how it has restored social order and safety, and provided better protection to foreign enterprises. He said he was pleased to learn that other speakers invited by UNIDROIT, including representatives of local business sectors, expressed confidence in Hong Kong's rule of law and spoke highly of its legal system which is conducive to trade development. Mr Cheung also seized the opportunity to try to persuade several international law interns of UNIDROIT who were being trained there to come and work in Hong Kong after completing their studies. He received an encouraging response. UNIDROIT aims to modernise, harmonise and co-ordinate private and in particular commercial law between states and to formulate uniform law instruments, principles and rules for such purposes. The memorandum of understanding signed between UNIDROIT and the DoJ last year laid a strong foundation for further collaboration in the area of private international law. Mr Cheung will depart for Vienna, Austria, today to continue his visit.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan will depart for Europe on March 5 to visit Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands for meetings with three prominent private international law organisations. The organisations include the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, which are all headquartered in Europe. The visit aims to foster closer connections and collaboration as well as consolidate Hong Kong’s status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr Cheung will attend and speak at a number of conferences and receptions. He will also meet the leaders of international organisations and prominent political and business figures to introduce Hong Kong’s robust legal system and rule of law situation as well as update them on the city’s latest legal developments with the unique advantages under “one country, two systems”, and tell the good stories of Hong Kong. Mr Cheung will conclude his visit at The Hague on March 11 and return to Hong Kong the next morning.