Subversion and secession charges should be dropped from proposed legislation to avoid undermining freedom of expression, the Government was told yesterday. Liberals said at a Legco bills committee meeting on the Crimes (Amendment) Bill the two provisions were unknown in Common Law. It was feared they could be abused to suppress people with dissenting political views. Independent Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, a barrister, said: 'After several discussions in the bills committee, we have failed to find any formulation of these offences which does not endanger the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people.' The Hong Kong Journalists' Association echoed her view. Former vice-chairman Kevin Lau Chun-to said: 'The association strongly feels that Article 23 of the Basic Law should be amended to excise the concepts of subversion and secession. 'Consideration should also be given to deleting the concept of sedition in order to guarantee freedom of expression. 'We are worried that freedom of speech can't be properly guaranteed if these concepts are part of the law.' Article 23 of the Basic Law requires the SAR government to legislate on sedition, subversion, secession and treason. Principal Assistant Secretary for Security Andrew Kluth said the Government did not aim to table bills to limit people's freedoms. But he refused to say whether the Government would take the legislators' advice. 'We are collecting members' opinions and I can't say what the administration will do next,' said Mr Kluth. Cheung Man-kwong, of the Democratic Party, said even if the charges were not dropped, members could set guidelines for the provisional legislature, which would scrutinise the bill.