A group that represents almost 70 business associations has offered its backing to the government's planned extradition law changes, but says suspects should only be handed over for offences punishable by prison terms of at least seven years.
The government recently set this threshold at three years behind bars, in a bid to ease the concerns of business leaders who fear Hong Kong executives will be sent across the border for a range of economic crimes.
Several types of corporate crimes have also been dropped from the list of offences that could warrant an extradition, but the move has failed to fully satisfy the business sector.
The Hong Kong Business Community Joint Conference said on Wednesday that it hopes people will not be surrendered for relatively minor business disputes, and extraditions should only be considered for serious crimes, such as murder and bribery involving hundreds of millions of dollars.
A convenor of the group, Lewis Luk, said they believe the bar should be set at crimes which attract a seven-year prison term or more in Hong Kong, saying this would offer some protection to all residents who travel overseas.
"If they commit a crime in those jurisdictions, how can we protect this group of Hong Kong citizens in this situation when they are being extradited? That is the key," Luk said.
Lawmaker Felix Chung from the pro-business Liberal Party said he would advocate the seven-year prison term suggestion during meetings of a Legco bills committee that will scrutinise the proposed legislation.
SME groups want higher threshold for extraditions
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