The Liberal Party's James Tien said on Friday that he believes the government could change its mind on a controversial plan to make it easier for wanted crime suspects to be surrendered to other jurisdictions, warning that foreign investors will start shunning the SAR if it doesn't.
The administration has so far indicated that it won't be backing down on its move to amend the city's extradition laws so that wanted people can be handed over to any jurisdiction in the world – including the mainland – even if the two sides have no extradition treaty.
But Tien, the party's honorary chairman, said he believes pressure from the business community may force the government to reduce the scope of the proposed amendments, or even shelve the plan.
The authorities say the changes are to plug a loophole in the law which is currently preventing them from sending a Hong Kong man to Taiwan so he can stand trial for allegedly murdering his girlfriend on the island.
But business leaders have expressed concerns about people being handed over to the mainland under the amended legislation and Tien, who was a member of the Basic Law Consultative Committee in the 1980's, said such renditions across the border were deliberately ruled out under the ordinances drawn up.
He also told RTHK's Janice Wong that if the government pushes ahead with the planned changes, Hong Kong will definitely lose out on foreign investment.
"My feeling is that there's still a chance that we can convince the government this is not the right thing to do. It should focus on the murder case in Taiwan, and not cast the net so wide," he said.