Press Releases in Hong Kong

Legal pros headed to international groups urged to tell the HK story

HONG KONG – At a ceremony on Friday announcing the appointments of five Hong Kong legal professionals who will be serving at prestigious international bodies, officials urged the young people to tell the world about the stories unfolding in the special administrative region and the country.

The five, aged 29 to 36, were chosen in a program jointly supported by the central government, the HKSAR government, and three international legal groups; namely, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific.

They will take up positions for six months to a year.

Three of them were selected from the Justice Department: Michelle Fung Bun-bun, 36; Moonar Tsoi Mung-fan, 29; and Eric Yuen Cheuk-lun, 29. The other two — Amelia Lo Yin-wah, 31, and Beryl Wu Wei, 29 — are affiliated with private law firms. It’s the first time that professionals in private practice have joined the program.

Speaking to a 100-plus-member audience at the ceremony, Liu Guangyuan, the commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR, said the arrangements show the support and care the central government has for young people in the HKSAR.

It is also a testament to how national diplomatic work can benefit young people, and the merit of the “one country, two systems” principle, he said.

Liu said he hopes the young people will take the opportunity to showcase the competitive strengths of Hong Kong’s legal sector to the world. At the same time, he said, they should keep abreast of the latest developments and practical experiences in global governance and international rule-making, to serve the country in legal matters related to foreign affairs.

As Chinese nationals, they should defend China’s interests, the international rule of law, and multilateralism, and set a good example for Hong Kong young people in shouldering their responsibilities toward the country, Liu said.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she expects the young people to grow into outstanding legal professionals who will boost the SAR’s status as an international legal center.

Legal services, such as dispute resolution and arbitration, will be in ever-greater demand as the nation further promotes the Belt and Road Initiative, which involves players in many countries and regions, she said.

As the only common law jurisdiction in China, Hong Kong has a strong talent base, with more than 10,000 practicing solicitors and about 1,600 barristers. There are also about 1,500 registered foreign lawyers from more than 30 jurisdictions.

Chen Dong, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, said the much-coveted opportunity for young people to work at international organizations is only possible with the nation growing stronger.

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said she hopes this project will be expanded and become a brand for Hong Kong and help develop a pool of international legal professionals.

She told participants to always keep their homeland in mind and to use the platforms to encourage the global community to truly understand the situation in Hong Kong and the principle of “one country, two systems”.

Yuen, who will assume office this month in The Hague, told the ceremony that he had chosen international law as his university major, believing that Hong Kong legal professionals could serve the country well in this field under “one country, two systems”.

The public counsel pledged to show the world that Hong Kong’s young generations are “energetic, productive and to be proud of”.

Wu, also headed to The Hague, in March, thanked the central and SAR governments for including solicitors in private practice like herself in the program. The project provides young legal practitioners with the opportunity to enhance their professional training and broaden their international horizons, she said.

Wu said she will share the experiences overseas with her peers when her stint ends, to encourage them to tap the fresh opportunities arising from national development.

mollychen@chinadailyhk.com