The notification mechanism between Hong Kong and the mainland on the detention of local residents should be improved with reference to the international treaty on consular relations, according to legal experts in the city. Their comments came after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the current cross-border notification arrangement should be raised to the same standard as the ones the city had with foreign countries. Delegations, notifications and a formal letter: CY Leung’s three-pronged strategy for settling bookseller row Prompted by public concerns over the detention of Hong Kong booksellers by mainland authorities without notifying the SAR government, Leung last week asked Beijing to review the mechanism. The central government agreed to this on Monday. Introduced in 2001, the mechanism has been criticised for its limited scope as it covers only four mainland law enforcement agencies – public security bodies, customs, procuratorates and the Ministry of State Security. Critics say the 14-day notification period also needs to be spelled out in black and white as it is currently an unwritten rule. While Leung did not specify the specific standards the mechanism should be raised to, University of Hong Kong law professor Simon Young said improvements could be made by referencing the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Chief Executive CY Leung seeks new Beijing deal on detention as he gives strongest hint yet on being game for second term “Of course, these arrangements would have to be suitably adapted for the Hong Kong-mainland context,” Young said. Former government chief prosecutor Grenville Cross echoed Young’s comment, saying that any improvements should be modelled on the Vienna Convention. Cross stressed that the current mechanism should be made more effective by aligning it with “international practice” in terms of timely reporting of a detention and “assisting a detainee to understand his or her rights and facilitating access to legal and other support services”. Reinforce detainee notification system, say critics following disappearance of Hong Kong booksellers The Vienna Convention stipulates that a relevant consular office should be informed “without delay” if a foreign national is arrested or detained unless the person requests otherwise. Under the convention, consular officers also have the right to visit the foreign national being detained if requested. In response to inquiries by the Post , three foreign consulates in Hong Kong – Australia, Sweden and Switzerland – said their countries abided by the protocols stipulated in the Vienna Convention if a Hong Kong resident was detained in their countries. A spokesman for the Australian consulate in Hong Kong added that “notification usually includes the full name and passport details of the detained person, if available.” Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who is a member of the Legislative Council’s security panel, said the cross-border notification mechanism should be expanded to cover all forms of official custody and a time frame for giving notice should be spelled out clearly if it is to be improved to the standard of the arrangement between Hong Kong and foreign countries. However, independent lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, another member of the security panel, cast doubt on the adoption of international arrangements to improve the mechanism since Hong Kong and the mainland were part of the same country.