The discussion on the amendments to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)'s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance was forced to suspend on Wednesday.
The discussion, originally planned to continue on Wednesday at the Legislative Council (LegCo) of HKSAR, has to suspend due to roads near the LegCo building blocked by protesters.
Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR government, in a video, urging people blocking the roads to return to the pavements and allow the traffic to resume. He called for the public to stay calm, restrained and leave the site as soon as possible, and not to commit any crimes.
Cheung noted that the HKSAR government has intensively explained to different circles in the past few months the aim and contents of the amendments. In response to the views collected, the HKSAR government has substantially strengthened the protection of human rights and other issues related to the amendments.
He reiterated that the bill proposed only targets fugitives who have committed serious crimes and not law-abiding people. The HKSAR government will safeguard and protect the rights and interests of the public.
The Fugitive Offenders &Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill was tabled by the HKSAR government at the LegCo in April. The bill proposed to enable Hong Kong to conduct case-based cooperation with jurisdictions that have no effective long-term arrangement with Hong Kong on juridical assistance in criminal matters.
The HKSAR government emphasized many times that amendments to the two ordinances aim at solving two "practical problems" - to deal with a 2018 homicide case that happened in China's Taiwan but involves a Hong Kong suspect who has returned to Hong Kong; and to fill loophole in HKSAR's existing legal framework concerning mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
The passing of the amendments will protect the law-abiding general public in the HKSAR and business activities from the threat of crime and be conducive to the business environment in the HKSAR, the HKSAR government has said.