Planned changes to Hong Kong's extradition laws have left businesses in the city worrying that their staff could be surrendered to the mainland for even minor slip-ups in filling in forms, a pro-government legislator warned on Thursday.
Business and Professionals Alliance lawmaker Jeffery Lam said the SAR government has to address concerns that Beijing might seek the extradition of business people in Hong Kong for minor issues such as "administrative negligence".
But Lam, who also sits on the general committee of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, didn't appear to fully share concerns raised by the American Chamber of Commerce, which had warned that business people fear they'll end up on the mainland at the mercy of a "flawed" judicial system.
“Any case has to be initiated by the chief executive. And that’s not the end to it. It has to be decided by our courts. So, if we all have faith in our courts in dealing with different cases fairly, we should continue to support our legal system,” he said.
“We all believe in our legal system. This is something that we all value. We have a very transparent and very fair legal system in Hong Kong governed by the courts, and we do have very experienced judges,” he told RTHK’s Candice Wong in Beijing – where he’s to attending the annual CPPCC session as a deputy.
A member of the Trade Development Council, Peter Lam, who was also in Beijing to attend the plenary session of the central government’s top advisory body, said he had relayed the worries of local businesses to Beijing officials.
“Obviously the American Chamber has been raising some questions about the whole thing. As far as we are concerned, we are also concerned about some of the things that may not fit Hong Kong, or may not be suitable for Hong Kong as a business environment,” he said.
“We have already raised concerns to the Hong Kong government and also to people in Beijing,” he said.
Meanwhile, former chief secretary and CPPCC Standing Committee member Henry Tang said the concerns raised were genuine and the central government would be wrong to ignore them.