Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that the controversial joint checkpoint arrangement will have a sound legal foundation – the details of which will be unveiled after the National People’s Congress has given its approval on the matter.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam said: “If the work of the Hong Kong government does not have a strong legal basis, it will face legal challenges. I’ve also heard individuals say that, once the arrangement has been implemented, they will consider lodging a judicial review.”
Lam said that the public should not be concerned and that the local and central governments have sought a legal foundation to provide the highest economic and societal efficiency.
The mechanism will involve “leasing” land to the mainland and effectively giving up Hong Kong jurisdiction over a quarter of the terminus where immigration procedures will be performed by mainland law enforcement agents.
Lam said that after the National People’s Congress gives its approval, the government will provide comprehensive details on the legal basis and officially announce the agreement of cooperation for establishing a port at the West Kowloon Station – which was signed earlier this month between Hong Kong and Guangdong.
“The most important thing is that the rail link is already 97 per cent completed. When you walk past West Kowloon every day, you can already see that the terminus is already in place.”
“A lot of members of the public hope that – through the joint checkpoint arrangement and the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link – they will be able to directly and conveniently reach many cities on the mainland as soon as possible.”
Asked about the Legislative Council’s demand that the four disqualified lawmakers return all of their salaries and operating expenses, Lam said, “This question is entirely a matter for the Legislative Council Commission,” Lam said. “I heard that the President of the Legislative Council told the public that he had sought legal advice.”
“In Hong Kong, we have to operate according to the rule of law and have to go through a due process,” she added.
On Monday, the Legislative Council Commission sent letters to the four, saying it was the duty of the LegCo to recover the funds as public money was involved.
“Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu will have to pay back between HK$2.7 and 3.1 million each, as they were never considered to be lawmakers. The votes they cast at the legislature, however, will remain valid.