Legco to hold hearing on setting up sex-offenders register

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 March, 2010, 12:00am

Legislators plan a hearing on setting up a register of sex offenders that would enable child-related services to check if staff have criminal records.

Education sector lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong yesterday suggested Legco hold a session to hear the views of the education and rehabilitation sectors.

'There is clearly a loophole in the current system that prevents stopping sex offenders from working in the education sector,' he told a security panel meeting. He said 54 cases of teachers being involved in child-related sexual offences had been sent to the Council on Professional Conduct in Education.

Undersecretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said the administration would co-operate with Legco in gathering the public's views on the issue.

Meanwhile, legal sector lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee expressed concern that the Law Reform Commission last month proposed interim administrative measures to deal with the problem instead of amending the law.

The commission suggested that those applying for jobs that involved working with children would have to obtain police proof that they had not been convicted of any of 38 sexual offences, the first time it has proposed an interim administrative measure before comprehensive legislation is introduced.

Employers would be informed verbally of the results of the sex-offences check and no written document would be provided.

Applicants could refuse to undergo such checks.

The commission expects 100,000 people working with children would be affected by the scheme.

Lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing urged the government to include a two-year 'sunset clause' on such interim measures before the law is amended to settle the issue once and for all.