Public order legal vacuum at midnight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 1997, 12:00am

The SAR will face a legal vacuum because laws on public order and the national and regional flags and emblems will not take effect until a few hours after midnight.

Provisional legislature president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said yesterday the Reunification Bill, an umbrella act naming all 13 laws approved before the handover, would be given retrospective effect to midnight on June 30.

This was despite the fact that the laws would be passed only at the interim body's 2.45 am sitting. But Mrs Fan said legal advice indicated criminal laws could not enjoy retrospective effect because this contradicted the Bill of Rights.

This puts in doubt whether people taking part in illegal rallies or destroying emblems in public early on July 1 could be prosecuted.

Mrs Fan said other legislation could be cited with regard to illegal processions and burning of flags in public.