Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said there is no need for further public debate on the joint checkpoint arrangement for the Express Rail Link, and the public may go to a government website to watch officials’ speeches on the matter.

Carrie Lam. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan asked Lam at a Q&A session at the legislature on Thursday whether she will ask relevant officials to attend a Express Rail Link forum hosted by university students.

Lam said officials have already done a lot of work to explain the proposal to the community: “There is no need to do things to procrastinate,” she said. “The Express Rail Link is already 95 per cent complete, the MTR Corporation is confident that it will operate in the third quarter next year.”

Tanya Chan. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

“I have to make a choice – although you will criticise me for breaking my election ideal of ‘We Connect’ – we have to care for the interests of Hong Kong.”

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan and Secretary for Security John Lee are responsible for promoting the mechanism. The arrangement will involve “leasing” land to China and effectively giving up Hong Kong jurisdiction across a quarter of the West Kowloon terminus for faster immigration procedures performed by mainland law enforcement agents.

The Legislative Council, upon receiving the government propsal, will debate a non-binding motion over the arrangement on October 25 “with a view to concluding the public discussion,” according to Lam’s recent work progress report.

“If you don’t even meet with students, how will you conclude the public discussion?” Chan asked.

Rimsky Yuen. Photo: Catherine Lai/HKFP.

But Lam refused the request: “If the university students just want to listen to speeches by officials at a forum, and there is no need for interaction and debate… [Then] please visit the website of government Information Service Department – I believe it has videos of the speeches,” Lam said.

Pro-democracy groups and scholars have raised concerns over what they call the ceding of territory to the mainland and potential violations of the Basic Law.

Kris Cheng

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.