Chaos ensued in the Legislative Council again yesterday, when the pro-democracy and pro-establishment camps sought to hold meetings in the same venue at a similar time to review the controversial extradition bill. The meetings were called off within a short time.
The bill deals with people being sent to places outside of Hong Kong to face trial. Hong Kong does not have such an agreement with the mainland at the moment. So if someone commits a crime on the mainland, they can hide in Hong Kong and not face trial.
The bill came about because Hongkonger Chan Tong-kai has been charged with murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan last year.
Because Hong Kong and Taiwan have no extradition treaty, Hong Kong’s government says it cannot send Chan to Taiwan to face trial. The government has put forward a bill which would allow suspects to be swapped between Hong Kong and Taiwan, the mainland and Macau. Some lawmakers don’t like the idea of sending suspects to the mainland because the mainland has the death penalty, and some things are seen as a crime on the mainland, but not inHong Kong or Taiwan.
Many Hongkongers fear the new law will be used to punish them if they say or have said things Beijing does not like. In Hong Kong, people have freedom of speech. Newspapers, too, are allowed to print things that the government might not like.
On Saturday, lawmakers ended up in a scuffle during a bills committee meeting, something not usually seen of people we expect to debate things coolly and with reason.
The fight continued on Monday when NeoDemocrat Gary Fan Kwok-wai told the police that two rival lawmakers had assaulted him, while pro-Bejing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu said James To Kun-sun, who chaired the pan-democrats’ committee, accused him of forging Legco documents.
On April 28, a protest against the bill drew tens of thousands of Hongkongers, but the government has no plans to change it.