HK leader Carrie Lam accuses opponents of ‘talking trash’, as seven are thrown out of meeting for saying she lied about controversial extradition bill

10-May-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong’s leader accused her opponents of “talking trash” over a controversial extradition bill during a fractious Legislative Council meeting on Thursday.

Tempers flared during a series of heated exchanges, and six pan-democrats were thrown out of the chamber for calling Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor a liar.

Lam had said her critics were spreading “unnecessary fear”, in relation to a proposal that would allow the transfer of fugitives to places with which Hong Kong does not have an extradition agreement, such as mainland China, Taiwan and Macau.

During a tense 11/2-hour question and answer session, Lam added that criticism of the bill from the United States should be looked at in the context of that country’s ongoing trade war with China.

 (South China Morning Post)

(South China Morning Post)

And she said mainland China’s omission from the original extradition agreement had not been because of concerns over the legal system across the border, but rather was the result of an unintentional oversight during the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.

Officials are in a race against time to pass the bill, so they can send a Hong Kong suspect wanted for murder to Taiwan.

In her opening speech, Lam said there had been “extreme speech and unnecessary fear” triggered by “the lack of understanding” over the government’s extradition proposal.

“I am saddened by and feel regretful for the conflicts between the central government and Hong Kong… that were triggered by extreme speech and unnecessary fear,” she said.

I am saddened by and feel regretful for the conflicts between the central government and Hong Kong… that were triggered by extreme speech and unnecessary fear

Carrie Lam, chief executive

Pan-democrats, who oppose the bill over fears Hongkongers could be prosecuted for political reasons in mainland China, criticised her comments.

“The chief executive is lying,” Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said. He was thrown out by Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen soon after.

The discord continued when Lam hit back at claims mainland China was deliberately excluded as a destination for fugitive transfers when the laws were overhauled before the handover.

“It was not what was said, that there were fears over the mainland’s legal system after the handover, or that China had agreed to it,” Lam said. “This is all trash talk.”

Council Front lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching protested against Lam’s comment and said the chief executive was lying.

Asked by Leung to retract her comment or be thrown out, Mo said: “Let me tell you, Leung Kwan-yuen, it is Legco’s duty to monitor the government. Carrie Lam is lying.”

Mo was escorted out by Legco guards. The other five lawmakers to be kicked out of the meeting were: Jeremy Tam Man-ho, Wu Chi-wai, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and Gary Fan Kwok-wai.

Lam said the exclusion of mainland China in existing laws had not been intentional.

Instead, she claimed, it was because the laws were localised from British laws before the handover, which did not include mainland China as a destination.

During the session, Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu questioned whether Lam and her minister had ignored the concerns of local and foreign groups.

He pointed out that a US congressional body had published a report on Wednesday, which said the amendments could allow Beijing to pressure the Hong Kong government to extradite Americans “under false pretences”.

Lam said lawmakers often referenced comments made by foreign powers, especially the US.

“I hope they can note the US-China trade war is ongoing,” Lam said.

Yeung said Lam had ignored doubts over the proposal, including concerns raised by Beijing-friendly legal expert Albert Chen Hung-yee, also a member of the Basic Law Committee.

“Does it mean the whole world misunderstood you?” Yeung said.

Lawmakers were expected to resume the legislative process of the proposed amendments at a bills committee meeting on Saturday morning. The committee is the body scrutinising the contentious bill.

The amendments were put forward after a murder case in Taiwan last year, which involved Hongkonger Chan Tong-kai, 20. Chan is wanted in Taiwan for the murder of his girlfriend, but could be released as early as October after he was jailed for 29 months on related money-laundering charges by the High Court last week.



Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post