'Expanded police powers don't go beyond law's remit' - RTHK
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'Expanded police powers don't go beyond law's remit'

2020-07-07 HKT 12:03
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  • The CE says powers like covert operations and searches without court approval have already been given to the police by the national security law. File photo: Reuters
    The CE says powers like covert operations and searches without court approval have already been given to the police by the national security law. File photo: Reuters
Maggie Ho reports
New powers for the police to wiretap suspects and conduct searches without a court order in national security investigations cannot be challenged via judicial review, nor do they go beyond what’s allowed under the new national security law, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

The government gazetted ‘implementation rules’ on Monday, laying out details of police powers to conduct covert surveillance to enforce the new law.

Lam said she will also approve such surveillance, and oversee the execution of these operations.

Usually, the Commission on Interception of Communications and Surveillance – headed by a retired High Court judge – must give the go-head for officers who want to secretly intercept communications.

Under the new rules, and the law, officers can also conduct searches without court approval, and order materials on the internet to be removed.

Speaking before an executive council meeting on Tuesday, Lam said these powers have already been given to the police by the national security law, and the implementation rules were published only to explain it in greater detail for the sake of clarity.

Replying to a question if these new restrictions may affect journalists working in the city, and concerns expressed by the Foreign Correspondents Club over the law, Lam said the law is very clear.

"If the Foreign Correspondents Club or all reporters in Hong Kong can give me a 100 percent guarantee that they will not commit any offences under this national legislation, then I can do the same,” she said.

When asked to respond to British government's decision to relax visa restrictions for BNO passport holders, Lam said she doesn't understand why some Western countries are so eager to make comments on the national security law.