Terror law allows for court appeal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 February, 2002, 12:00am

Groups and individuals listed by the Chief Executive as terrorists will be allowed to appeal against the decision under a government proposal.

In a paper submitted to legislators, the Security Bureau said any listed people and groups would be able to challenge the listing in court.

Under the proposal, the Chief Executive will be empowered to list individuals or organisations as 'terrorist' if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are connected with any terrorist act defined in the Bill, which has still to be tabled.

The move follows the passing of an anti-terrorism resolution by the United Nations Security Council last September.

The Security Bureau said the Government had decided to adopt a 'minimalist approach' to implementing the resolution, which would focus mainly on measures against terrorist financing.

It proposed that a terrorist act be defined mainly in accordance with the definition of terrorism under the UK Terrorism (United Nations Measure) Order 2001.

The bureau said the UK definition followed the international trend of requiring that there be 'the use or threat of action to influence a government or intimidate the public, and that the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause'.

In addition to the two criteria, the action must also:

Involve serious violence against a person;

Involve serious damage to property;

Endanger a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action; and

Create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or be designed to seriously interfere with or disrupt an electronic system.

Under the proposal, the Government will be empowered to freeze terrorist funds or assets, subject to court challenge by any people affected. It will require financial institutions and businesses subject to anti-money laundering obligations to report transactions of funds that might be involved with terrorism.

Given the likely adverse consequences of causing panic and confusion among the public in a densely populated place like Hong Kong, the bureau proposed making it an offence for people to carry out hoax terrorist acts.

The security panel will be briefed on the proposals at a meeting on Tuesday.

The bureau said it would table the bill to the legislature soon.



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