Mainland to set up office for SAR detainees

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 12:00am

Mainland prosecution chiefs will soon set up an office to handle SAR detainee cases brought by local deputies to the National People's Congress.

Deputy procurator-general Zhang Qiong told deputies a liaison office with NPC deputies would be established to handle the cases quickly.

He was also quoted as saying that Hong Kong people could file complaints to the office against alleged maladministration and abuses by public security bureaus.

Speaking after the meeting, three deputies said they had urged the mainland official to seek early arrangements with the SAR on mutual judicial assistance to help tackle the problem of Hong Kong people detained on the mainland.

They said the two governments could set up a system to deal with civil cases first before dealing with more difficult cases involving criminal offences.

Local deputy Ma Lik said it would not be easy for the two governments to sign a mutual assistance agreement on criminal cases because of their differences on the issue of the death penalty.

'It is better to have two separate agreements on civil and criminal cases,' he said.

Fellow deputy Cheng Yiu-tong said he had received over 10 cases last year from people seeking assistance on the detention of SAR residents on the mainland.

An agreement could allow a Hong Kong resident to return to the SAR to make arrangements to resolve the financial dispute.

Another deputy, Victor Sit Fung-shuen, said: 'Sometimes people have been detained mainly because the mainland side fears they would not pay the money they owed after they left.' Colleague Maria Tam Wai-chu quoted Dai Yuzhong, director of the office for law and policy research at the Supreme People's Procuratorate, as saying the lack of mutual judicial assistance arrangements had worsened the problem.

The mainland official pledged to provide information about the rights of Hong Kong residents doing business on the mainland, she said.