Talks start in Beijing on return of suspects

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 December, 1998, 12:00am

Initial talks on the return of suspects have begun between security officials from the SAR and the central Government in Beijing.

Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee arrived in the capital on Wednesday for an unannounced week-long visit to the mainland.

It is the first time Hong Kong and Beijing officials have met on return, or rendition, arrangements in the wake of the rows over 'Big Spender' Cheung Tze-keung and the alleged poisoner of Telford Gardens, Li Yuhui.

'The aim of the visit is to hold exploratory discussions with the mainland authorities to consider the parameters of the more detailed study and discussions on rendition to follow,' a government spokesman said.

Mrs Ip and officials responsible for extradition and mutual legal assistance yesterday met Liao Hui, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director; Xu Ze, the Office's Head of Political Affairs; and Public Security Minister Jia Chunwang.

But officials have sought to dampen hopes of an early deal.

'Given the immense differences in the legal and judicial systems on the mainland and the SAR, we need to proceed carefully. It would be unrealistic to expect that an agreed arrangement can be concluded after one or two rounds of discussions,' the spokesman said.