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Editorial : Fugitive law amendment beset by scepticism

【明報專訊】THE amendment bill for the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance is to be tabled to the Legislative Council for its first and second readings today (April 3). Despite numerous efforts made by the government to explain the amendment to the public, there are still many queries from the legal sector. Although the government stresses that the amendment is aimed at plugging legal loopholes and applies to all jurisdictions instead of being tailor-made for any particular place, some clauses in the bill are rather strange. By removing nine offenses that mainly involve white-collar crimes from the amendment, the government has not only hamstrung itself but also created a legal loophole. Moreover, the proposed standards against which to certify the documents and evidence supporting an extradition request also seem to have been lowered. The government's failure to offer any reasonable explanations for that has raised doubts about whether it is relaxing the relevant requirements. Supposedly, the government's purpose is to further enhance the law. Given the fact that the current bill is neither well-thought-out nor capable of dispelling doubts from the public, the government should consider prudently whether to push on with the amendment.

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