This photo dated Oct 28, 2014 shows the Central Government Offices at Tamar, Hong Kong. (PHOTO/HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on Wednesday strongly disapproved and firmly opposed the acts of the so-called "international legal team" for Lai Chee-ying and his son Sebastian Lai.
In a statement, the HKSAR government said their actions and those of Sebastian himself scandalize the National Security Law for Hong Kong and the city’s judicial system, and abuse the United Nations mechanisms by soliciting the United Nations Human Rights Council to interfere in the judicial proceedings against the elder Lai.
The HKSAR government said making a statement with the intent to interfere with or obstruct the course of justice, or engaging in conduct with the same intent, is very likely to constitute the offense of criminal contempt of court or perverting the course of justice
“The HKSAR government will never tolerate, and strongly deplores, any form of interference by anyone including the so-called ‘international legal team’ with the judicial proceedings of the HKSAR,” the statement reads.
The government pointed out that Hong Kong's judicial system has always been highly regarded by the international community.
“Any attempt by any country, organization, or individual to interfere with the judicial proceedings in the HKSAR by means of political power, in order to procure a defendant's evasion of the criminal justice process, is a blatant act undermining the rule of law of Hong Kong,” it added.
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The government said making a statement with the intent to interfere with or obstruct the course of justice, or engaging in conduct with the same intent, is very likely to constitute the offense of criminal contempt of court or perverting the course of justice.
That Hong Kong is a society underpinned by the rule of law and has always adhered to the principle that "laws must be obeyed and lawbreakers be held accountable" is well recognized by the international community, it said.
Prosecutions would be instituted by the Department of Justice only if there is sufficient admissible evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction, and if it is in the public interest to do so, it added.
The HKSAR government said defendants charged with criminal offences will undergo fair trial by the Judiciary exercising judicial power independently. Cases will never be handled any differently owing to the profession, political beliefs or background of the persons involved.
In all criminal trials, the prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt before the defendant can be convicted, and the defendant has the right to appeal under the law, the government added.
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It noted Article 4 of the NSL clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the HKSAR.
Article 5 of the NSL affirms adherence to the principle of the rule of law in safeguarding national security, including the presumption of innocence, the prohibition of double jeopardy, and the right to defend oneself and other rights in judicial proceedings that a criminal suspect, defendant and other parties in judicial proceedings are entitled to under the law.
The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has pointed out that these two Articles are centrally important to the interpretation of the NSL generally, the HKSAR government added.