'Foreign, gay-friendly judges not suitable for HK' - RTHK
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'Foreign, gay-friendly judges not suitable for HK'

2018-05-30 HKT 15:18
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  • Pro-Beijing lawmakers say Hong Kong people don't share the same pro-LGBT stance as Baroness Hale (left) and Beverley McLachlin. Photos: Supreme Court of the UK / Supreme Court of Canada
    Pro-Beijing lawmakers say Hong Kong people don't share the same pro-LGBT stance as Baroness Hale (left) and Beverley McLachlin. Photos: Supreme Court of the UK / Supreme Court of Canada
Damon Pang reports
Pro-government lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the administration's wisdom in appointing two non-permanent judges from overseas to the Court of Final Appeal, raising concerns that the judges' values may not be compatible with those of the Hong Kong people.

Despite backing the move in a Legco vote, legislators including DAB chairwoman Starry Lee said people are worried that Baroness Brenda Hale and Beverley McLachlin are advocates of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. Lawmakers warned that the two judges may "compromise national security."

Holden Chow, who's also from the DAB and a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission, agreed that "people who uphold traditional family values" are concerned about the proposed appointments.

Chow said he hoped the two women would refrain from dealing with any cases where they have a "strong bias".

"The two newly appointed non-permanent judges are entitled to hear any cases before them, but save and except that when there is any landmark court case involving same-sex marriage, they might as well consider recusal," he said.

The government has said the two judges, from the UK and Canada, are of "eminent standing and reputation" and if their appointment is confirmed by the Executive Council, they would be the top court's first ever female judges.

Legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok, from the Civic Party, strongly criticised rival lawmakers for politicising the issue.

"We face some real challenges here in Legco, such as our housing crisis, our economic competitiveness. Focus should remain on those issues and not on partisan politics meant to defy and polarise well-settled principles of this Basic Law and independence of the judiciary," Kwok said.

"The long-term cost to politicising the judiciary will be much higher than any short-term political benefit that may be accrued from an underhanded political manoeuvre," he added.