Government delays and a lack of transparency over the amendment of laws to ensure the central government's three offices in the city are bound by Hong Kong's laws have raised suspicions that the offices are in fact reluctant to abide by those laws. Legal sector lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee called it 'a perfect scandal' that the government had taken 10 years to agree to amend only four ordinances. This is out of 16 that do not specify that the three mainland offices - the liaison office, the office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the garrison of the PLA - must abide by them. The lack of urgency in trying to resolve the issue 'makes you really worry how far the central authorities and their personnel think they are above the law in Hong Kong', she said. Eric Cheung Tat-ming, an assistant law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said: 'Why is it that they are so hesitant to have all laws apply to the central authorities? Is it because what they are doing now is not complying with the law?' The legislative loophole arose after the transfer of sovereignty. In 1998, the provisional legislature passed a law maintaining the principle that, like the 'crown' in the colonial era, the 'state' should not be bound by any law. However, legal experts pointed out that the Basic Law mandated that all central government offices must abide by the laws of the region, yet there were still specific laws that did not mention the status of central government offices. Ten days ago, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau informed lawmakers that the Legislative Council Commission Ordinance, the Plant Varieties Protection Ordinance, the Patents Ordinance, and the Registered Designs Ordinance were to be amended to specifically ensure that central government offices in Hong Kong were bound by the city's laws. But laws that remain to be amended include environmental laws, the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance, three anti-discrimination ordinances and the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. When asked why only four ordinances were mentioned for amendment, and whether the government was committed to amending the remaining 12, a spokesman said: 'We will continue to study the remaining ordinances, taking into account the policy intent.'