政府強推《逃犯條例》修訂，引發國際社會關注，香港美國商會今日發出新聞稿（全文也附於本報道文末），指昨日曾和政務司司長張建宗會面，商會表明對修例的關注，引述張建宗稱政府樂於解說，希望可以釋除疑慮，但商會明顯「不收貨」，在新聞稿中表明，認為香港未準備好修例，不明白為何政府要急於堵塞已經存在超過 20 年的制度漏洞，更向政府提出八大質問，要求政府交代，包括修例如何保障香港作為國際樞紐的地位、如何確保香港法治不會受損、 如何保障被移交逃犯會得到公平審訊等。
美商會的聲明指，商會昨日和政務司司長張建宗會面，表達商會對修例的關注，張建宗指政府樂於解說，但商會認為修例仍有太多根本性的不確定因素，在立法會通過修例前有必要向社會大眾進一步解釋，又指香港未準備好通過修例，亦不明白為何特區政府要急於修例，以堵塞存在超過 20 年的制度漏洞。
美國商會提出質問，大部份語調強硬，包括要求特區交代，已有 30 名外交官向特區政府表明，不支持修例，修例更可能改變香港和其他國家的外交關係，特區政府有何計劃，可以避免香港作為國際樞紐的地位動搖。
香港美國商會有約 1400 個會員，是香港最大的外資商會，商會理事會成員包括來自 Fedex、怡安保險、IBM、Google 香港等企業的高層。
Proposed Fugitive Offenders Ordinance
Hong Kong – May 30, 2019 – AmCham appreciated the opportunity to meet with Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung to explain our concerns about the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance on Wednesday May 29. The Chief Secretary said the government was keen to alleviate worries that the bill would have a negative impact on Hong Kong's status as an international business hub.
AmCham's Position on the Bill
AmCham feels that there are too many uncertainties in fundamental sections of the proposed legislation that must be addressed and explained to the broader Hong Kong community before tabling the bill for passage by the Legislative Council. Hong Kong is not ready to see this bill passed, and we do not see why it should be rushed through when the loophole it seeks to address has existed for 20 years. We believe that for Hong Kong to remain a center of excellence for the rule of law and legal practice that due legislative process is followed. We have asked the Chief Secretary’s office for answers to the following questions:
1. With 30 foreign diplomats reportedly indicating that they do not support the ordinance and that this may lead to a review of their home countries relationship with Hong Kong, how does the government plan to address these concerns to avoid any negative impact on Hong Kong’s international hub status?
2. Three senior judges in Hong Kong publicly announced they are “deeply disturbed” by the proposed bill and saw the bill as “unworkable” because its amendments ignored the lack of trust in the legal system of mainland China. If one of the bill’s two main gatekeepers – the courts – feel the proposed legislation is unworkable, how will the government ensure that the rule of law in Hong Kong is not compromised if this legislation is forced ahead?
3. The government has not clarified specific boundaries for the person who holds the authority to make extradition requests from mainland China. While it was once said extradition requests could only be made by any recognized individuals from the Central People’s Government, the Security Bureau also noted that “extradition requests would come from Mainland China courts, which are not internationally held in the same regard as Hong Kong’s.” Please kindly clarify.
4. Secretary for Security John Lee highlighted that the amendments are “mainly aimed at fugitives who have committed serious crimes and do not affect Hong Kong’s freedom of the press and speech as safeguarded in the Basic Law and Hong Kong Law.” How will they be safeguarded technically?
5. In the government’s reply to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission it was said that the ordinance amendments help establish the reputation of Hong Kong in combating crimes. Why would Hong Kong want to risk its reputation for the rule of law in order to gain this new reputation of “combating crimes” with the city’s relatively low crime rate?
6. The government emphasized that the amendments focus only on fugitives, but not local ordinary citizens. How will this be differentiated?
7. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said the government would consider including a requirement that a requesting jurisdiction would guarantee suspects a fair trial. How will the Hong Kong Government ensure the requesting jurisdiction guarantees a fair trial?
8. Media reports noted that the “Security Bureau admitted that, with the amendments to the extradition law, the Chinese government can request the freezing of the assets of a person deemed to be a fugitive from the mainland” Please provide more details on this to ensure business confidence is not at risk.