07 Jun 2019
Tens of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in a bid to block changes to the Chinese-ruled city’s extradition laws, which could pave the way for fugitives wanted by mainland China to be sent across the border for trial for the first time.
Hong Kong residents as well as foreign and Chinese nationals living or traveling through the global financial hub would all be at risk if they are wanted on the mainland.
After weeks of broadening local and international pressure, debate in Hong Kong’s parliament on the so-called Fugitive Offenders Ordinance amendment bill is due to start on Wednesday. With pro-establishment political forces now dominant in the Legislative Council, the bill is expected to be passed by the end of the month. Hundreds of lawyers marched in a rare protest on Thursday.
What does the extradition bill involve?
The Hong Kong government first launched the proposals in February, proposing sweeping changes that would simplify case-by-case extraditions of criminal suspects to countries beyond the 20 with which Hong Kong has existing extradition treaties.
It explicitly allows extraditions from Hong Kong to greater China – including the mainland, Taiwan and Macau – for the first time, closing what Hong Kong government officials have repeatedly described as a “loophole” that they claim has allowed the city to become a haven for criminals from the mainland.
Hong Kong’s leader would start and finally approve an extradition following a request from a foreign jurisdiction but only after court hearings, including any possible appeals. The bill removes Legislative Council oversight of extradition arrangements, however.
By Greg Torode, Reuters, 6 June 2019
Read more at Reuters
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