Legco to proceed soon on triad bill

A BILL that gives police sweeping powers to tackle triad activities and organised crime is to be debated by legislators in early July after two years of examination.

The Legislative Council ad hoc group studying the Organised and Serious Crime Bill yesterday decided that the bill, introduced in July 1992, would be debated on July 6.

Lawmakers are waiting for the administration's proposal on a witness protection scheme and the police force's code of practice.

Governor Chris Patten said in his policy address last year that the police urgently needed the powers contained in the bill, and officials have accused legislators of making too many queries and delaying its enactment.

Legislators replied that they should not hurry with such a complex and important piece of legislation. However, they still do not agree on the definition of organised crime.

United Democrat chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming will table an amendment to take away ''one-off'' offences from the definition of ''organised crime''.

The administration and the Liberal Party said the definition could be retained, because it was specified that the ''one-off'' offences must be of a serious nature.