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Cut to the chase on extradition

Top News | Phoenix Un May 21, 2019
<p>Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu has revealed the administration will table the controversial extradition law bill to the full Legislative Council on June 12, skipping a bills committee stage when lawmakers could have scrutinized the amendments.</p><p>The bill has been stuck between &quot;twin&quot; bills committees - one pan-democrat-influenced panel headed by legislator James To Kun-sun and the other in the pro-administration camp under Abraham Shek Lai-him, with the rivals squabbling over the chairmanship.</p><p>The deadlock was set to hinder the legislation from being completed before the Legislative Council summer recess in mid-July.</p><p>Lee made the breakthrough move by announcing that he wrote to house committee chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king to submit directly the bill to the full council meeting on June 12 for the resumption of second reading, meaning the bills committee stage will be skipped.</p><p>Lee said that move was in accordance with the rules of procedure.</p><p>He argued that the administration had to circumvent the bills committee, because it had lost its ability to function and discuss the bill.</p><p>&quot;I can&#39;t see any [other] way out for the current deadlock,&quot; Lee said, pointing to the time factor. And the &quot;tough decision&quot; to take this course of action came after &quot;thorough consideration.&quot;</p><p>With the bills panel stage skipped, the procedure picks up with a resumption of the second reading that will see each legislator allowed to speak once. Then the legislature will vote on the second reading.</p><p>If the second reading is approved, the bill enters the stage of committee of the whole council to examine the bill clause by clause. That will allow legislators to speak as many times as they want before a third reading process and vote. There have been cases when the Legislative Council president halted the debate of the committee of the whole council early to end filibustering.</p><p>And Lee pointed out that legislators would still have an opportunity to discuss the bill during the debate of the second reading and could propose amendments when the procedure reaches the committee of the whole council.</p><p>&quot;I will try my best to explain the bill and answer legislators&#39; questions in detail,&quot; he said.</p><p>He repeated the line that the amendment served to provide a legal basis to extradite Chan Tong-kai, the suspect in a Taiwan murder case, to the island for trial.</p><p>But the Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan has said it will not seek extradition of Chan under the fugitive law amendment, while Lee said the SAR will only have a legal basis to talk with Taipei after the fugitive law is amended.</p><p>Starry Lee said she would be discussing the latest turn of events with legislators at a house committee meeting on Friday.</p><p>Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said there were precedents for Lee&#39;s move.</p><p>&quot;It won&#39;t hurt the rules of procedure,&quot; he said, adding: &quot;During the British era Legco used to finish all three readings in one day.&quot;</p><p>Pan-democrats, however, weighed in with the view that Lee&#39;s move would ignite public anger by skipping the bills committee and resuming a second reading for a controversial bill by an amended procedure.</p><p>&quot;The government is permitted to do it, but it shouldn&#39;t have done it,&quot; said pan-democrat convener Claudio Mo Man-ching. &quot;It&#39;s a complete abuse of power.&quot;</p><p>But New People&#39;s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee backed the use of such power &quot;because we have an executive-led system.&quot;</p><p>And the leader of the Liberal Party, Felix Chung Kwok-pan, who was wary of how the extrsplayinpgffecthe outut er oDgs, true T\@2 * the scriptt@2tinue prsing.  * * httppb.com/d@mage/isses/ $errprror nu0 * @param strinrrstr String descri,H4gr aramgng $errfile\0ror occurred in * @param int $errl(Hin file * @(9u @memcacheP shoul9


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