Issues relating to the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019
Human rights and procedural safeguards under the proposed special surrender arrangements
Mr CHAN Chun-ying sought clarification about some sayings that a list of persons requested by other jurisdictions had been kept by the Administration such that they would be detained or surrendered if they transited through Hong Kong. S for S stressed that they did not have such a list, adding that the Administration had adopted stringent procedures in activating a special surrender procedure. Besides, transit passengers should not be worried about the Bill if they had not committed serious criminal offence(s) punishable with imprisonment for not less than seven years.
Issues relating to the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance
Given that a person who was requested to be surrendered was provided with various procedural safeguards, such as applying for habeas corpus, making a torture claim and applying for JR during the course of all proceedings, Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether the suspected proceeds of crime, if any, were required to be frozen independently before the completion of various procedural matters as recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”).
DLO(MLA)/DoJ explained that MLAO provided the statutory framework to regulate the provision and obtaining of assistance in the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, including the taking of evidence, transfer of persons to give evidence and confiscation of the proceeds of crime. In practice, a restraint order could be applied for if legal proceedings had been commenced in another jurisdiction. The court would grant restraint order if it was shown that the suspect had assets within Hong Kong and an external confiscation order might be made upon the completion of relevant legal proceedings in the requesting jurisdiction. This arrangement served to temporarily freeze one’s assets to prevent it from being removed until the completion of the foreign proceedings.