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Thursday, July 28, 2016, 20:27

Information exchange mechanism amended

By Luis Liu

Hong Kong police and mainland public security authorities have agreed to embrace the principle of “mutual benefit” and “human rights protection” by amending the existing mutual information exchange mechanism.

This was announced in a Hong Kong government statement issued after the second round of negotiations over the issue in Shenzhen on Thursday.

Both authorities also pledged to stand firm on the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, to observe the country’s Constitution as well as Hong Kong’s Basic Law and to respect local laws on both sides.

In the first round of discussions in early July in Beijing, both parties agreed to notify each other within 14 days after any cases are detected. Inclusion of all law enforcement agencies into the mechanism is also expected, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told a previous briefing.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok led the Hong Kong delegation, and the Beijing delegation was headed by Vice Minister of Public Security Chen Zhimin.

Chen said the two parties will put their suggestions into a preliminary text which will be the basis of a future agreement. He said both authorities had “reached a consensus” to stick to the principle of “One County, Two Systems” as well as protection of the legal rights of residents in both places.

A new line was agreed to be added into the current text of the notification arrangement: Stand firm on the “One Country, Two Systems”, abide by the national Constitution, Hong Kong’s Basic Law and all related laws in both places; and uphold the principle of the rule of law, seek common ground and mutual benefits, and protect human rights, according to a Hong Kong government’s press release.

The original text, besides “One Country, Two Systems”, only stated the notification mechanism was to be conducted on the basis of “mutual respect, mutual support and nonintervention with the other side’s law enforcement activities,” according to a document from the Department of Justice.

Moreover, the two sides pledged to make the arrangement more standardized, orderly, transparent, feasible and convenient. They also said they planned to more effectively combat cross-border crimes, a statement from the Ministry of Public Security said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Guangdong province handed over a suspect in connection with the murder of a 71-year-old money changer in Tai Po in March to the Hong Kong police after the meeting.

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