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Hong Kong bookseller disappearances

Beijing and Hong Kong officials agree on detention notification system based on respect

Development comes as mainland authorities hand over currency exchange murder suspect to city police

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 1:28pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 10:22am

Hong Kong and Beijing officials agreed to uphold the “one country, two systems” principle, each other’s laws and constitutions, and human rights, as they resumed talks in Shenzhen on Thursday on improving the mechanism for reporting the detention of residents across jurisdictions.

After the meeting, Guangdong provincial authorities extradited a murder suspect wanted in Hong Kong.

It was the second round of talks after city officials first visited the capital on July 5 to secure a provisional agreement to improve the cross-border notification system, prompted by the public outcry over the detention of five Hong Kong booksellers without the local government being informed.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok led the Hong Kong delegation, including senior police, immigration and customs officials, while the mainland side was headed by Vice-Minister of Public Security Chen Zhimin.

Hong Kong officials to resume talks with mainland on detention notification system

In brief remarks before the meeting was held behind closed doors, Chen revealed that both sides had agreed to write new content into the text of the notification mechanism after the first round of talks, and had “reached a consensus” on its scope and communication channels.

“We discussed the mechanism ... under the principle of one country, two systems, as well as that understanding that the legal rights of residents in both places should be protected,” Chen said.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that the mechanism would include language on “adhering to the ‘one country two systems’ principle, according to the [Chinese] Constitution, the Basic Law and other laws adopted by the two sides, and upholding the principles of acting lawfully, seeking common ground while reserving differences, mutual benefits, and protecting human rights”.

The scope of the content, time requirement and notification channels would be “modified and improved”, Xinhua said, citing a statement released after the talks.

Both sides also promised “concerted efforts to make the notification mechanism more standardised, smooth, transparent and convenient to better protect the interests of residents on both sides, deal with cross-border crimes, and maintain long-lasting prosperity and stability of the mainland and Hong Kong”, Xinhua reported.

Leung Chun-ying confirms Beijing talks over notification mechanism for Hongkongers detained in China

The meeting was followed by the handing over of Kit Kwun-kwok, previously identified as Jie Guangguo, to Hong Kong police at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint. He is accused of attacking Yiu Chik-chuen, 71, the owner of a money changer in Tai Po, with a box cutter on March 14.

There is no extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the mainland, but authorities across the border have in the past voluntarily delivered to Hong Kong numerous fugitives who had committed crimes in the city.

They included the two suspects wanted over the chopper attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to in 2014.

“Police of the two places will continue to step up policing co-operation and exchange of intelligence to combat crimes effectively and safeguard the law and order of Hong Kong and Guangdong,” Police Director of Crime and Security Sonny Au Chi-kwong said.

Kit was taken to the scene of the crime for a re-enactment on Thursday and will face trial in Hong Kong over the murder case.

Hong Kong has never surrendered fugitives to the mainland.