Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung said on Thursday that he is planning to introduce a private member's bill to give local courts the power to handle murder and manslaughter cases from other jurisdictions in which Hong Kong residents are the suspects.
Yeung said Hong Kong courts already have extraterritorial jurisdiction over child sexual abuse cases, and the lawmaker feels this can be extended to other serious crimes as well.
The opposition legislator is aiming to counter a government proposal to change laws that will allow one-off extraditions to places with which Hong Kong doesn’t have a formal treaty, including the mainland.
The Carrie Lam administration has pointed to the case of a Hong Kong suspect in a Taiwan murder, saying he can't be handed over due to what officials say is a loophole in the existing laws.
Yeung said giving Hong Kong courts the power to conduct trials even if a crime took place elsewhere would close this "loophole", and at the same time address concerns regarding the mainland's legal system.
He said his suggested amendment is simple and could be passed very quickly if the government asks Legco to waive the usual procedures. "It is a matter of political will," he said.
An SAR court is set to sentence the Hong Kong murder suspect over money laundering charges on April 29. Experts say he could walk free then even though he has pleaded guilty, as he has already been in detention for months.
But pro-government lawmaker Holden Chow said he doesn't think Yueng's move would work, as criminal laws aren't retrospective in Hong Kong. To change it for this case would a be "paradigm shift in our legal and criminal system", he said.
Chow said it is better to amend the rules as the government proposed.
Last updated: 2019-04-25 HKT 14:42