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The Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been established in accordance with Article 12 of The Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Government announced today. Chief Executive Carrie Lam, in accordance with Article 16(2) of the national security law in Hong Kong, has appointed Edwina Lau as Deputy Commissioner of Police (National Security) to head the force's department for safeguarding national security. Ms Lau took the oath of office today. Mrs Lam said Ms Lau has served in the force for 35 years and demonstrated distinguished leadership, professionalism and perseverance, adding that she can discharge the historic responsibility of leading its National Security Department to fulfil the crucial duty to safeguard national security at this critical moment. The committee is chaired by the Chief Executive. Its members comprise Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, Financial Secretary Paul Chan, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, Secretary for Security John Lee, Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-keung, Deputy Commissioner of Police (National Security) Edwina Lau, Director of Immigration Au Ka-wang, Commissioner of Customs & Excise Hermes Tang, and Chief Executive's Office Director Chan Kwok-ki who is also the committee’s Secretary General. As stipulated in Article 15 of the law, the committee shall have a National Security Adviser. The Central People's Government has appointed Luo Huining to take up the post, and he will sit in on the committee’s meetings. The committee shall analyse and assess developments in relation to safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, make work plans and formulate policies for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, advance the development of the Hong Kong SAR's legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security, and co-ordinate major work and significant operations for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR. In addition, a specialised prosecution division responsible for the prosecution of national security offences under the Department of Justice has also been established as required by Article 18 of the law. The division's first batch of prosecutors has been appointed by the Secretary for Justice after obtaining the committee’s consent. The head of the division will be appointed later. As required by Article 44(1) of the law, the Chief Executive, after consulting the committee and the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, has also designated six serving magistrates from the Judiciary as designated judges to handle cases concerning offences endangering national security. The committee will shortly convene the first meeting to fully advance the work on safeguarding national security, the Government added.
The Central People's Government, on Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s recommendation and nomination, has approved the appointment of Au Ka-wang as Director of Immigration. Mr Au’s appointment took effect today. Mrs Lam said: "Mr Au has served in the Immigration Department for over 30 years and has extensive experience in departmental operations. “He possesses proven leadership and management skills. I am confident that he will lead the Immigration Department in meeting the challenges ahead." Mr Au joined the department as an Assistant Immigration Officer in 1988. He was promoted to Assistant Director in 2018 and to Deputy Director in 2019. He was awarded the Hong Kong Immigration Service Long Service Medal in 2007, with the first and second clasps in 2014 and 2019.
The designation of judges and the operation of the courts in handling cases concerning the National Security Law must be subject to the requirements of the Basic Law, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma said today. In a statement, Mr Ma said the Chief Executive shall designate judges at each level of court to handle cases and appeals in relation to the National Security Law. As stated in the government booklet on the National Security Law issued on July 1, judges are to be designated by the Chief Executive after consultation with the Court of Final Appeal Chief Justice. Mr Ma said that designated judges can only comprise judges who have been appointed pursuant to the requirements of the Basic Law and that all designated judges will therefore come from the existing ranks of the Judiciary. This is prescribed under Article 44 of the National Security Law, he added. Appointments of judges under Article 88 of the Basic Law are made by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission, which is chaired by the Chief Justice, Mr Ma said, noting that this has always been the position in Hong Kong. Another relevant provision of the Basic Law is Article 92, he said. As the Chief Executive has made clear, designated judges, like all judges, are to be appointed based on their judicial and professional qualities. These are the only criteria relevant to the appointment of judges. This means that judges should not be designated on the basis of any political considerations, reinforcing the principle that in the handling or determination of any legal dispute, only the law and legal principle will be considered, he added. The Chief Justice also said judges of foreign nationality are not excluded and that they are expressly permitted to be appointed as judges in Hong Kong under the Basic Law. Such judges include the Non-Permanent Judges of the Court of Final Appeal from common law jurisdictions, whose immense contribution to Hong Kong has repeatedly been acknowledged by the Chief Executive, he said. Mr Ma pointed out that while Article 44 of the National Security Law refers to the designation of a number of judges, this is not automatically to suggest the unsuitability of other judges in the Judiciary. He noted that in considering the suitability of judges to be designated, any legal objections will have to be taken into account, such as those set out in Article 44 or any objections based on bias or reasonable perceptions of bias or other legal objections. It is intended that once the term of designated judges comes to an end, other suitable judges may be designated, he said, adding that this will apply as far as Court of Final Appeal Non-Permanent Judges from common law jurisdictions are concerned. He also said that the listing and handling of cases as well as the assignment of which judge or judges to handle cases or appeals will be determined by the court leader of the relevant level of court. These are matters within the sole responsibility of the Judiciary, he said, emphasising that the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law are cornerstones of the Hong Kong community. It remains the mission and the constitutional duty of the Judiciary to maintain and protect judicial independence and the rule of law, Mr Ma added.
The Government today refuted online claims that Hong Kong residents will have to obtain its approval for travel to places outside China. It condemned the reckless spread of such rumours on the Internet and reminded members of the public not to be misled by fake news.
Customs announced today that it is investigating a case in which surgical masks with suspected false trade descriptions were being supplied to the Government Logistics Department (GLD). Four people were arrested. Customs Head of Trade Controls Mak Yuk-kam explained in a press conference that Customs launched an investigation immediately after it received a crime report alleging that a purveyor had supplied the GLD with surgical masks bearing false trade descriptions. "Investigations revealed that the masks in question were imported from the Mainland by local trader A and eventually supplied to the GLD through another trader B. It was found that (on) each box of masks in question there (was the) information of a Mainland mask manufacturer including their name and address on here. "Upon examination of the mask in question, the representative of this Mainland manufacturer confirmed that the masks in question were not manufactured by them." Having confirmed that the trade descriptions regarding the manufacturer printed on the box of masks was a false claim, Customs mounted an operation on June 24 and raided the two companies in Kwun Tong and Hung Hom involved in the case, Mr Mak added. “During the operation, Customs seized a batch of documents, arresting two males and two females, including the sole director of Company A as well as the sole director and two staff of company B.” The arrestees, aged between 36 and 44, were released on bail pending further investigation. Customs noted samples of the masks were sent to a laboratory for a bacterial count test. The results confirmed that the samples are in compliance with the relevant standard. For the sake of safety and because the source remains unknown, Customs appealed to the public to stop using the surgical masks. According to the information provided by the GLD, 3.59 million of the masks concerned have been kept in stock and 3.12 million were allocated to 11 government departments. The department has informed those departments to stop using the masks and arranged to return them.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” nowadays connotes Hong Kong independence and urged the public not to defy the law. In a statement responding to participants of illegal and violent activities yesterday displaying or possessing items bearing those words, the Government noted that the slogan also connotes separating the Hong Kong SAR from the People's Republic of China, altering the legal status of the Hong Kong SAR, or subverting state power. It stressed that the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR prohibits secession, subversion of state power and other acts and activities which endanger national security. The Hong Kong SAR Government calls upon members of the public not to defy the law and strongly condemns any acts which challenge the sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China.
(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.) Chief Executive Carrie Lam provided more explanation about the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region during a press conference today. Mrs Lam said: “The purpose of this piece of legislation is not just to punish, it is also to deter people from committing such serious offences as secession, subverting the state power, terrorist activities and so on. So deterrence is very important.” Mrs Lam also reassured the media and the public that criticising the national security law would not be considered a crime. “Now (concerning) criticism, it comes under freedom of speech. There is a specific reference in the principle of this piece of law under the general principles - Chapter 1, Article 4 - which provides for the Hong Kong SAR to safeguard national security, we should also safeguard human rights and so on. “Some of these human rights enjoyed by individuals under the international covenants are not absolute. As the covenant provisions specify, where it is for the protection of national security, then sometimes some of these rights could be restrained in accordance with the law. “But it is clearly stated in Article 4 that people of Hong Kong should be able to continue to enjoy the freedom of speech, freedom of press, of publication, protest, assembly and so on.”
(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.) Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng today emphasised that when handling national security law cases, all prosecutorial decisions will be based on facts and evidence. Ms Cheng made the remarks at a press conference to discuss the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. “What is important when one is to understand the independence of prosecutorial decisions is that Article 63 explicitly says that the Department of Justice is to control the prosecutorial decisions, conduct of the matters, etc, free from any interference. “Any decisions that the Department of Justice is going to make, in relation to prosecutorial decisions, will as always be based on fact and evidence. The fact and evidence are some things that will be provided to us through the law enforcement agencies - particularly here is the special branch set up under the Police Force - and that will allow us to make decisions independently, free from any interference.” Ms Cheng also sought to clarify that her participation on the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong SAR will not hinder her role as head of the Department of Justice. She said: "It would not in any way interfere with my discharge of the role as the head of the Department of Justice under Basic Law Article 63.”
(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.) Secretary for Security John Lee said today that the National Security Law in Hong Kong is already in effect and the public must abide by it. Mr Lee made the statement when questioned by the media about the handling of arrests made on the first full day of the implementation of the new law. “When the law is promulgated, it becomes an effective law in Hong Kong. When it becomes an effective law in Hong Kong, everybody has to abide by it. "We have established this new department to deal with this piece of new legislation. Police will handle it in accordance with the law. “In regard to detention, there is no provision in this national security law to change the procedure or law regarding detention. So we'll handle it in the way as it is stated in the present law.” Mr Lee added that the department tasked with handling such cases will be extra careful when discharging their duty. “In relation to national security matters, the targets that we are dealing with are likely to be state-level opponents. Their abilities, their methods and their experience, in this regard, are something that we must take good care of in order to ensure that we can sufficiently discharge our duty."
The Government today condemned protesters for conducting unlawful assemblies and committing violent and illegal acts and fully supported Police’s enforcement actions to bring offenders to justice. Around noon, some people committed illegal and violent acts in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Tin Hau. They also neglected the possible risk of spreading COVID-19 by gathering. They assembled on Hong Kong Island and chanted slogans, dug out bricks, damaged roadside fences, committed arson, blocked roads as well as damaged shops, seriously endangering public order and safety. Some of them possessed and waved flags and printed materials and chanted slogans containing the words Hong Kong independence. They are suspected of inciting or abetting others to commit secession and violating the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Government severely condemned such acts which publicly challenged the bottom line of the Central People's Government and the Hong Kong SAR Government. Police have acted with restraint and tolerance but some rioters deliberately and severely injured police officers. One rioter drove a motorcycle into officers who were executing their duties nearby, inflicting injuries on three officers. Separately, a police officer was surrounded and attacked by several rioters when subduing a suspect. Attempting to snatch the suspect, the rioters attacked the officer, who was injured with a sharp object. However, an online news outlet completely distorted the facts when reporting on the incident, claiming the officer had pushed a protester to the ground, while citizens nearby jointly fended off the officer. The Government strongly condemned these riotous acts and the irresponsible report. It highly commended Police for holding fast to their duties and taking enforcement actions in accordance with the law, fully supporting them in strictly enforcing the National Security Law and the laws of Hong Kong to restore social order and peace. As of 10pm, about 370 people were arrested, including six men and four women who are suspected of having breached the National Security Law. Others were arrested for offences, including unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct in a public place, furious driving and possession of an offensive weapon.