Security Wing funding challenge dropped

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 April, 1996, 12:00am

Legco Security Panel chairman James To Kun-sun will today withdraw his bid to reject the $156.4 million funding for the controversial Security Wing.

However, he will demand major reforms to monitor the wing's work.

Mr To decided not to press ahead with his amendment to the Appropriation Bill to avoid cutting funds for legitimate security work.

Instead, he plans to move a motion debate on constitutional and legal changes to define the authorisation and duties of the security wing and introduce a monitoring scheme.

'In the United Kingdom, the jobs of MI5 and MI6 are defined in statute,' he said. 'They have to get the Home Secretary's authorisation before they can break in or tap civilians' premises.

'In America, the duties of the CIA are governed by statute,' he said.

Similar provisions should be adopted in the territory, he said.

Although Hong Kong's Police Force Ordinance sets out 18 duties of the force, Mr To said interpretation could leave these open to abuse.

He made the comments after finding that one of the duties mentioned by the police during Monday's closed-door security panel meeting did not fall under any of the 18 categories.

Legislators also decided not to investigate the secret work of 33 former Special Branch officers fighting for the right to live in Britain after 1997. Concerns included the legal constraints on such a probe.