Former security chief Lai Tung-kwok on Saturday dismissed international concerns over the government's bill to amend the SAR's fugitive transfer laws, saying it would improve Hong Kong's image by helping to bring criminals to justice.
Canada is among the latest countries to voice concerns over the proposed amendments, which will allow the chief executive to order the transfer of fugitives to the mainland and other jurisdictions that are not covered by existing rendition arrangements.
International human rights and journalist groups have also spoken out against the plan.
But Mr Lai, who's now the vice-chairman of the New People's Party, backed the proposal:
"I don't think it can damage Hong Kong's image," Lai said.
"On the contrary, I think it will enhance our image because everybody knows that the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance was enacted to ensure that these fugitives will be brought to justice."
The proposed amendment has alarmed pan-democrats - along with the business sector, which has already succeeded in having the legislation exempt nine economic crimes.
The first meeting of the bills committee vetting the controversial extradition legislation amendments ended on Wednesday without even electing a chairman for the panel, amid bickering and arguments over procedures.