Local counsel attack expats
By CONNIE LAW
LOCAL Crown counsel have launched a strong attack on expatriate civil servants' opposition to the localisation policy, describing it as legally and morally unjustifiable.
In a document to legislators, the Local Crown Counsel Association attacked arguments set out in a position paper by the Association of Expatriate Civil Servants of Hongkong (AECS).
It said the appointment of expatriate officers and their consequential rights had been acquired through a discriminatory system which breached the Bill of Rights.
The association also denounced an alleged comment by the Chief Secretary, Sir David Ford, as a ''serious insult to the 180,000 local civil servants'' and said it reserved the right to pursue the matter further.
According to the AECS's paper, Sir David said: ''To make merit, rather than ethnicity, the major consideration in renewal of [overseas officers'] contracts would have the effect of abandoning the localisation policy.'' The local Crown counsel said the employment system in the civil service - which offered either local or overseas terms of service to a candidate based solely on place of origin - ''has always been discriminatory against local officers''.
The association said its expatriate colleagues had no plausible moral ground for opposing the policy.
The association noted that the income of an overseas Crown counsel was usually more than double that of a local with equal experience.
It was this employment system that gave the false impression that expatriate officers were superior to their local colleagues, it said.