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The second batch of Hong Kong residents stranded in India will take a special flight arranged by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to return to Hong Kong tomorrow morning at the earliest. The flight, tentatively scheduled to depart from Mumbai, will assist Hong Kong residents located in Mumbai and those in its surrounding areas with special needs such as people with illness, pregnant women, children as well as family members travelling with them. Over the past few days, the Immigration Department contacted assistance seekers who meet these circumstances to confirm their wishes to take the flight, and to obtain their personal particulars for applying for travel permission from the local government. It is initially estimated that the flight will carry about 300 people and the cost will be borne by the passengers. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, the returnees will proceed to the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at AsiaWorld-Expo for compulsory COVID-19 testing. After their deep throat saliva samples are collected, the returnees will be transferred to the quarantine centre at Chun Yeung Estate for a 14-day compulsory quarantine. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Government has banned all international flight movements since late March. As at June 1, the Immigration Department has successfully contacted about 4,800 Hong Kong residents stranded in India. The first batch of about 250 residents stranded there returned to Hong Kong on May 18 on a chartered flight arranged by the Hong Kong SAR Government from New Delhi. There are still many Hong Kong residents in different areas of India. Considering the traffic restrictions still in place across India, and having regard to the quarantine arrangement for the returnees and the capacities of relevant facilities, the Hong Kong SAR Government will assist them in returning to Hong Kong in an orderly manner in batches subject to the circumstances.
Secretary for Security John Lee today said he will reflect the views of different people in Hong Kong to central authorities. Mr Lee will be accompanying Chief Executive Carrie Lam on a trip to Beijing on June 3. There, the Central People’s Government will listen to Mrs Lam’s views on the legislation to be enacted by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security. Mr Lee said: “There are people who support it and people who do not. Obviously I will reflect what is happening in Hong Kong and what I have heard. “I will do my best to reflect how law enforcement agencies operate under the common law system, how the collection of evidence and presentation of evidence will take place in court and how some common law principles will be applied to the adjudication of the cases.”
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said that any attempt to interfere with the right of a sovereign state to pass its own national security law is unacceptable. Speaking to the media after attending a radio programme today, Ms Cheng rejected US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Hong Kong has lost its autonomy. “It is said that we are becoming ‘one country, one system’ with loss of autonomy, that is completely false and wrong.” She pointed out that national security is a matter under the purview of the central authorities. “As a matter of fact, people often forget that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is part of China, we are one country. Without ‘one country’, there is not any basis to talk about ‘two systems’. “Therefore, insofar as the national security is concerned, as in any other country in the world, this is a matter that belongs to the central authorities, whether it is a unitary or federal state.” Ms Cheng added that any other country trying to use coercion or other means with a view to interfering with the right of a sovereign state to pass its own national security law is arguably infringing on the principle of non-intervention under public international law, which is not acceptable. “As to the suggestion of certain individuals or perhaps a particular region being sanctioned as a result of China passing the national security law, we step back and look at it in this way: national security is of prime importance to any sovereign state, and any sovereign state must, as a matter of its sovereign right, and indeed duty, to protect the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of any state. “Therefore, passing national security law is something that any state has to do.”
Fellow Citizens, Hong Kong, the home we all treasure, is defined by the "Lion Rock spirit" by which we join hands to pursue our dreams while putting aside our differences. Since our return to the Motherland, Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region directly under the Central People's Government, enjoying a high degree of autonomy and unique advantages under "one country, two systems". Over the past year, the Hong Kong community has been traumatised. Violence by rioters has escalated, with illegal firearms and explosives posing a terrorist threat. The opposition forces and organisations advocating "Hong Kong independence" and "self-determination" have blatantly challenged the authority of the Central authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, pleaded for interference in Hong Kong's affairs by external forces and even begged for sanctions against Hong Kong and thus disregarding the interests of Hong Kong people and our country. Meanwhile, external forces have intensified their interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs, passed laws relating to Hong Kong and flagrantly glorified the illegal acts of radicals, all of which seriously jeopardise our nation's sovereignty, security and development interests. Hong Kong has become a gaping hole in national security, and our city's prosperity and stability are at risk. Regrettably, the current legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong to safeguard national security are inadequate or even "defenceless". Despite returning to the Motherland for 23 years, Hong Kong has yet to enact laws to curb acts that threaten national security in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law. In view of the current political and social situation, it is difficult for the Executive and Legislative authorities of the Hong Kong SAR to complete on its own legislation to safeguard national security in the foreseeable future. The decision now by the National People's Congress to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security from the state level in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law is an exercise of the authority and duty of the Central authorities. It also demonstrates the commitment of the Central authorities to fully and accurately implement "one country, two systems" as well as their care for Hong Kong people. There is both the need and the urgency for legislation, the constitutionality, lawfulness and reasonableness of which are beyond doubt. The objective of the legislation is to prevent, curb and sanction secession, the subversion of state power, the organisation and carrying out of terrorist activities that seriously endanger national security, and interference by foreign and external forces in the affairs of the Hong Kong SAR. It will only target an extremely small minority of illegal and criminal acts and activities, while the life and property, basic rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of citizens will be protected. Citizens will continue to enjoy the freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of demonstration, of procession, and to enter or leave Hong Kong in accordance with the law. All relevant law enforcement will be conducted strictly in accordance with the law as well as statutory powers and procedures. Fellow citizens, every country has its own laws to safeguard national security for the long-term security of their country and the stability of people's lives. The legislation by the Central authorities for the Hong Kong SAR to safeguard national security aims to enable Hong Kong society to find a way out of the impasse, restore stability as soon as possible and resume development of the economy and livelihoods. I appeal for your full understanding and staunch support for the decision passed by the National People's Congress. Carrie LamChief ExecutiveHong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Carrie Lam wrote this letter to Hong Kong citizens, which was published in newspapers on May 29.
The Government today announced the reappointment of Anthony Neoh as Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) Chairman for one year from June 1. Serving members Clement Chan, Wilson Kwong, Anissa Chan and Roland Wong were also reappointed for two years from June 1. The appointments are made by the Chief Executive according to the IPCC Ordinance. Secretary for Security John Lee said: "The IPCC's work in coping with many new challenges brought by the ever changing and complex social circumstances is no small feat. “I would like to thank Dr Neoh for his dedication to the work of the IPCC over the past two years, and also for accepting, notwithstanding personal considerations, the reappointment for another year until the end of May 2021." Mr Lee said the Government was grateful for the IPCC’s invaluable contributions in ensuring a fair, effective and transparent two-tier police complaints system in Hong Kong, adding that it would continue to give full support to the council in discharging its statutory monitoring functions and uphold a fair and impartial police complaints system. Established under the IPCC Ordinance, the IPCC is an independent statutory body responsible for monitoring and reviewing the investigation of complaints against members of the force. The ordinance provides a statutory basis for the council's role and power and the two-tier police complaints system, as well as imposes a statutory duty on Police to comply with the IPCC's requirements. The IPCC comprises a chairman, three vice-chairmen and 22 non-official members.
The Security Bureau today held an inter-departmental table-top exercise to test the Government's response capabilities for a super typhoon. Noting that the Hong Kong Observatory predicted the typhoon season in 2020 may start in or after June in Hong Kong, the bureau said the Government must heighten its vigilance and be well prepared to cope with the potentially serious threats brought about by typhoons. Officers from more than 30 bureaus, departments and other external parties involved in the handling of natural disasters took part in the exercise held at the Emergency Monitoring & Support Centre at the Central Government Offices. The exercise simulated a super typhoon scenario to test the preparedness, response and recovery capabilities as well as the decision-making process and interoperability of relevant government bureaus and departments. The Government will assess the outcome of the exercise to enhance the general awareness and co-ordination of relevant bureaus and departments in various contingency handling aspects. It also urged citizens to take proper precautionary measures during the typhoon season, remain in safe places and pay close attention to the latest information released by the Government on typhoons.
A Security Bureau task force held its first meeting today to follow up on various recommendations set out in the Thematic Study Report of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC). Secretary for Security John Lee, who supervises the task force, presided over the first meeting. In addition to Security Bureau representatives and police officers, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management) Kwok Yam-shu attended the meeting. The IPCC made a total of 52 recommendations in the report. Mr Lee considered that Police should accord priority to dealing with recommendations that include dissemination of public information, arrangements for reporters during large-scale public order events, co-ordination among Police themselves and with other departments, temporary detention facilities and police officers' identification. At the meeting, Mr Lee set out a clear direction on the work of the task force. Due to the wide scope of the 52 recommendations, the task force decided to categorise them into five areas and set up five sub-groups under the task force. The five areas are enhancing release of public information and review of media relations, review of guidelines on the use of force, improvement of arrangements for temporary holding areas, enhancement of police operational deployment and strategies as well as strengthening of Police's internal management, co-ordination and training. Mr Lee required the five sub-groups to assess the complexity and urgency of relevant issues with a view to determining the review and follow-up arrangements, reporting back and commencing the related work. Items deemed less complex should be implemented as soon as possible. One example follows an earlier indication by Police that they have ceased using the San Uk Ling Holding Centre to detain people arrested at public order events. Police should submit to the task force a clear policy for implementing such arrangement within the coming month. Other examples include the review and improvement of protocols for organising press conferences with other departments or institutions and improvement of manpower deployment, equipment and other arrangements at detention facilities for handling large-scale operations. The task force will consider inviting other departments and institutions to participate in the discussion and research of relevant issues. Mr Lee indicated that the task force would regularly submit work progress reports to the Chief Executive. The first progress report will be submitted in August, followed by quarterly reporting. Police must also report to and discuss with the IPCC its follow up actions in accordance with the mechanism under the IPCC Ordinance. The meeting and work arrangements of the task force will tie in with Police's progress reports to the IPCC.
It is unhelpful to speculate on the content of the national security legislation or spread rumours and fear about a law to safeguard national security, which is within the purview of the state, the Government said. It made the statement tonight in response to a May 26 statement by the US Chamber of Commerce on the national security law, and a similar statement by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong on May 22. The statement noted that a draft decision to introduce national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is under deliberation at the National People’s Congress during its ongoing annual session. “It is therefore unhelpful at this stage to speculate on the content of the legislation or spread rumours and fear about a law to safeguard national security, which as in any other country, is within the purview of the state.” As stipulated in the draft decision, the proposed law only targets acts of secession, subverting state power, organising and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as activities interfering with the Hong Kong SAR’s internal affairs by foreign or external forces. “The vast majority of law-abiding Hong Kong residents, including overseas investors, have nothing to fear.” The Government reiterated that nothing in the proposed national security law will jeopardise the “one country, two systems” principle or erode the institutions that underpin Hong Kong’s success as an international city, including the rule of law and an independent judiciary, among others. “All of the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people and international investors will remain unchanged.” The Government emphasised that the national security law will ensure that Hong Kong does not become a base for subversion and instability, but rather a safe, stable and welcoming city for people from all over the world. “Any unilateral change of US policy towards Hong Kong would create a negative impact on relations between the two sides as well as harm the US’ own interests,” it added.
Police arrested more than 360 people as at 9.30pm today, as lawbreakers wreaked havoc across the city since midnight. In a statement Police explained that people were arrested for possessing offensive weapons or instruments fit for unlawful purpose, unlawful assembly and participating in an unauthorised assembly. From the small hours of the morning, there were violent illegal activities in various districts. Rioters set fire to miscellaneous objects, threw large objects onto railway tracks and placed iron nails on roads. In the afternoon, illegal activities became more frequent. In Mong Kok, some rioters occupied carriageways of Nathan Road, Dundas Street and Shandong Street. They ignored road users' safety, moved road signs, mills barriers and planks to the carriageways and ran on the roads. In Central, Admiralty and Causeway Bay, a lot of people gathered and yelled. Offensive weapons, including petrol bombs and nails, were found in public places while Police conducted patrols. Rioters' illegal activities were concentrated in Mong Kok tonight. Some people occupied carriageways in the vicinity of Nathan Road and Sai Yeung Choi Street South and set fire to miscellaneous objects. Explosions were heard from the blaze. In Wong Tai Sin, two people were arrested on suspicion of possessing a gas canister, lighter and other items. Police also noted that three vehicles were towed away. Police emphasised that they will continue to monitor the situation in various districts and enhance intelligence-gathering to prevent and combat crimes.
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said the Central authorities have given assurances that Hong Kong's freedoms will be preserved in the national security legislation. Answering reporters’ questions ahead of the Executive Council meeting, Mrs Lam said the assurances were not simply hearsay, adding that waiting for full details of the legislation could ease some people's concerns. “The most important assurance is contained in the articles in the draft decision and also the very clear exposition given by not only the National People's Congress (NPC) leader, but I also understand that several leaders have spoken on this subject during the session of the NPC. “So that is not just sort of hearsay, that is a very clear statement and assurances given by the leaders of the People's Republic of China. But of course for people who still have concerns, they will have to wait for the details to be put in front of them before they could be assured. “Some of the things that you have said, about Mainland agencies coming down to arrest people (taking part in) protests and they will be arrested for calling for the Chief Executive to step down, at the moment are in your imagination or things that have been said by some people. We are a very free society so for the time being, people have this freedom to say whatever they want to say. “But ultimately what is to be provided in this piece of legislation is for all of us to see in order to be assured that Hong Kong's freedoms will be preserved and Hong Kong's vibrancy and core values in terms of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the various rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people will continue to be there.” Mrs Lam also reiterated that rights and freedoms are not absolute. “When you quoted the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, all these international covenants do also confess and admit the need for national security. “If we want to protect the majority of the people, then if the minority of the people - indeed a very small minority of people - are going to breach the law, to organise and participate in terrorist activities to subvert the state power, then of course they have to be bounded by the needed legislation.” The Chief Executive pointed out that over 10,000 public order events are held in the city every year which is proof of Hong Kong's vibrancy and respect for rights and freedoms. “Protest itself is an expression of freedoms and rights and opinions - if it is done in a legal way.”