Chief executive contender Regina Ip has said the issue behind the reported abduction of a Chinese billionaire from Hong Kong was that the city has no fugitive extradition agreement with the mainland.

“It has not been followed up with after I left [the government],” said Ip, the former security secretary. “If there is a formal legal fugitive extradition agreement, we can provide assistance if the mainland requires any investigative needs; but we do not have a fugitive extradition agreement or a mutual legal assistance agreement, so there may be cases that Hongkongers are concerned about. The next administration should put forward [an agreement].”

Xiao Jianhua, a financier with ties to the family of Chinese president Xi Jinping, crossed the border into the mainland last week with reports suggesting he was forcefully taken away. He had been living in the luxury Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong for years after Xi launched his national anti-corruption campaign. Statements claiming to be from his company and him have denied he was abducted.

Regina Ip
Regina Ip. File Photo: Facebook/Regina Ip.

Ip made the comment when she was speaking to reporters after a meeting with the rural body Heung Yee Kuk, which holds 27 chief executive election committee votes.

Small House Policy

She told the Heung Yee Kuk that she would honour the last policy address of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and set up a conservation fund to compensate indigenous people after their land has been appropriated for the development of country parks, greenbelt, or other purposes.

“The natural ecological environment of the New Territories such as the Long Valley wetland should also be preserved, as well as relics of villages and buildings indicative of the traditional lifestyle,” she said.

She said the Small House Policy remains a chronic long-outstanding issue. Under the policy, certain male descendants have the right to build village houses of three storeys. However, land resources are scarce and there have been cases of illegal transfers of building rights to developers.

“The previous administrations have failed to address [it] rigorously, and we should really try to deal with it in a more constructive way such as allowing high rise development,” she said, adding that she will study solutions if elected.

Small houses
Small houses. Photo: GovHK.

The Kuk previously said its 27 election committee members will nominate one single contender together, as one unit, after a decision is made. Last week, the Kuk’s vice-chairman Cheung Hok-ming said it had reached a consensus that the 27 are inclined to nominate Ip’s rival Carrie Lam.

Ip appealed to the Kuk not to vote as one unit.

“I recognise that all candidates have their qualifications. I appeal to them – those who approve of my policy proposals – to consider nominating me so that I could enter the race and make sure there is a competitive election,” she said.

She said that only through a competitive race will the new chief executive will have higher credibility.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.