HK to end judicial link with Brunei

THE Chief Justice, Sir Ti Liang Yang, yesterday announced the end of the judicial link with Brunei after 29 years.

Hongkong will not send any more judges to sit either in the Court of Appeal, which he himself presided over, or the High Court in Brunei, he told the opening of the legal year.

The practice of sending judges to sit in Brunei has been criticised in recent years both for moral and practical reasons.

Some judges refused to go there because there is a mandatory punishment of whipping for some crimes.

There was also criticism from human rights organisations which felt it was wrong for Hongkong's judges to be linked with Brunei, which is one of only a few countries which do not subscribe to international human rights treaties on slavery, women's rights and refugees.

Until two years ago, several prisoners of conscience had been held in detention without trial since 1962.

Last year, when the Chief Justice asked for more judges because of the length of time people had to wait for trial, Legco members pointed out that one way of reducing the time was to stop sending judges to Brunei.

Judges went to Brunei under a Treaty of Friendship signed between the UK and Brunei in 1964 when Brunei wanted to maintain its own judiciary when the Federation of Malaysia was created.