Spy law puts power in hands of dangerous individuals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 August, 2006, 12:00am

The new covert surveillance law that has been passed by pro-government legislators has worsened Hong Kong's democracy for an indefinite amount of time, mainly due to the lack of a sunset clause proposed by pro-democracy legislators.

Some of the arguments by the government, and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Liberal Party legislators, were astounding - statements about the necessity to 'protect law and order'.

There is no evidence that shows law and order has worsened to such a significant extent that it justifies forcing through a law that restricts privacy and other civil liberties to such an extreme. In the United States, the creation of the Patriot Act followed the 9/11 attacks.

It is worrying that covert surveillance, as well as being used on the general public, can also be used on lawyers and their clients. Thus, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong and other supporters of the legislation, such as the DAB and Liberal Party legislators, are dangerous individuals, with the power to curb our civil liberties. It is important to promote awareness of this controversial issue.


So, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen managed to railroad his law through: 200 amendments, and not a single one rejected on lack of merit - or, of course, accepted on merit. As a legislative process, this is a travesty. As a matter of 'strong' leadership, if the chief executive were not so quick to spend the taxpayer's money on surrounding himself with yes-men, he might realise that what is best for one's people is not one's own idea, but the best idea out there, whoever it comes from.


Roderick Parkes asked voters to punish those pro-government legislators who voted down, without participating in the debate, the amendments proposed to the covert surveillance bill ('Failing in their duty', August 9). He was presumably referring to amendments proposed by the legislators and not those by the government.

If non-participation in the debate proves that a legislator has not applied his or her mind to an amendment, be it proposed by a legislator or the government, then all legislators except Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee and James To Kun-sun were, to use Mr Parkes' expression, 'mindlessly voting ... like a troop of well-programmed robots'. They include not only those who were for the government, but also those who were against it.

NG HON WAH, Pokfulam