May 20 - 27, 2019

LAW & ORDER

Chief Executive objects to asylum move

Chief Executive Carrie Lam strongly objects to, and deeply regrets, the granting of asylum by the German authorities to two Hong Kong residents who jumped bail to flee Hong Kong. At a meeting (May 24) with Germany's Acting Consul General in Hong Kong David Schmidt, Mrs Lam expressed doubts as to whether the decision had been based on facts. She pointed out that the two men were facing serious charges, including rioting and assaulting police, and their action had seriously jeopardized public order and safety. She stressed that independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, is guaranteed under the Basic Law and is fully respected and practised. Anyone accused of breaching the law in Hong Kong would face an open and fair trial.

Fugitive bill further clarified

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 22) explained that there is a robust system in place in Hong Kong and it is impossible for the Chief Executive alone to make a decision and send somebody to another jurisdiction to be dealt with in court. She noted the law amendment is not targeted at the Central authorities or other parts of the Mainland, but she understood people’s concerns. She said she has already reflected the concerns to the Central authorities and she will continue taking up the matter with them.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung (May 25) reiterated that the fugitive bill ensures safeguards during the administrative and juridical procedures when handling suspects. Noting that efforts to further explain the bill to foreign chambers of commerce have eased concerns and some of them have agreed to support it, he said the Governemnt would step up efforts to explain the bill to ease concerns. The Government (May 20) has written to the Legislative Council asking for a second reading of the fugitive bill to be resumed on June 12 to break the deadlock over the bill.

Hong Kong keeps graft in check

Officials representing anti-graft bodies from over 50 jurisdictions converged in Hong Kong at an international symposium (May 22 - 24) jointly hosted by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption and the World Justice Project. Chief Executive Carrie Lam noted that decades of anti-corruption efforts had been rewarding for Hong Kong, making the city a vibrant international economy, underpinned by the rule of law and free enterprise. Hong Kong is consistently ranked among the cleanest economy in the world. Highlighting Hong Kong’s strong performance in upholding the rule of law, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said Hong Kong will work with other jurisdictions to forge an “inclusive coalition” to fight corruption globally.

Hong Kong: international legal and dispute resolution service center

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng (May 24) said that Hong Kong government is committed to promoting the development of mediation locally, regionally and internationally. Speaking at a mediation promotion event, she highlighted the opening of the West Kowloon Mediation Centre last November and the establishment of the Inclusive Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Office in Hong Kong in January this year. On the international front, Hong Kong is building a team of investment mediators in Asia to handle international investment disputes. In addition, Hong Kong is also developing an online dispute resolution platform to facilitate the provision of cross-border one-stop dispute resolution services to enterprise worldwide.

Former UK judge joins top court

The former UK Supreme Court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption will be joining the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) as a non-permanent judge. His presence will expand the panel of overseas judges from other common law jurisdictions, including the UK, Australia and Canada, from 14 to 15 members. Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 22) said the appointments manifest Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

FINANCE

Inaugural green bond offering successful

Hong Kong has made great strides in building its green bond market, with its debut green bonds attracting orders more than 4 times the issuance size of US$1 billion and a 5-year tenor. Issued under the government’s green bond programme, the deal drew a diverse group of conventional and green investors. Financial Secretary Paul Chan (May 22) said the strong demand from global investors not only indicated their recognition for Hong Kong’s credit strength, but also their support for the city’s determination and efforts in promoting sustainable development and combating climate change.

ECONOMY

April inflation up 2.9%

Hong Kong’s overall consumer prices rose 2.9% year-on-year in April. Netting out the effects of all the one-off relief measures from the Government, the underlying inflation rate was 2.9%, compared to the 2.6% increase in March. Looking ahead, inflation will likely stay moderate in the near term.

BASIC LAW

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems".

Q: Is Hong Kong an easy place to visit for tourists or international business people?

A: Yes, very much so. Hong Kong has autonomy in immigration control. It maintains its own immigration laws and procedures and has a very liberal visa policy. As of September 2018, 162 countries or territories have granted visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders. (BL Articles 154; 155)

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