Former Legco president Tsang Yok-sing warned on Friday that Hong Kong is a haven for criminals escaping from the mainland, and said changing the city's extradition laws would help address this.
Tsang said he understands why some people have concerns over the government's proposal to make it easier to surrender fugitives to other jurisdictions, but said "we have to strike a balance."
"With this integration between Hong Kong and the mainland, we can only expect more cross-border criminal activity in future. Are we sure that we want to keep the status quo? Do we really want Hong Kong to remain a haven for those offenders of the Chinese criminal law who have escaped to Hong Kong?," Tsang said.
In an interview with RTHK's Wendy Wong, the pro-Beijing politician also dismissed concerns that the proposed changes to legislation will undermine the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.
"We understand that some Hong Kong people are worried that, maybe, actions considered to be criminal across the border are totally innocent in Hong Kong. But it is up to the Hong Kong courts to make sure that no-one who hasn't committed any offence which is not criminal in Hong Kong will be sent over the border."
Tsang said if people are concerned that Hong Kong residents could be handed over to mainland authorities for political reasons, then they should offer an alternative solution.