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HK ex-police chief: Suspending fugitive pacts wrong decision

By Kathy Zhang | | Updated: 2020-08-06 16:55
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Former Hong Kong police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said on Wednesday some Western countries' suspension of their respective rendition agreements with the special administrative region is the wrong decision, as it is akin to telling the world they could be safe havens for the city's criminals.

"Such decisions are counterintuitive. Definitely seems like a political move," Tsang told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

Tsang, who is also deputy director of the National Narcotics Control Commission, made his remarks after seven Western countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have announced they were halting their extradition agreements with Hong Kong or are considering doing so. Some of the countries cited concerns that under the new National Security Law, they would be required to transfer those accused of political crimes.

Tsang refuted such claims, noting that the rendition agreement is signed between two jurisdictions to help each other surrender the other's fugitive offenders on a case-by-case basis.

"It's not about automatic transfer. Every case (under a rendition agreement) needs to go through a legal process before the final surrender," he said.

Tsang actively promoted the city's cross-border police cooperation with many foreign countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, when he was Hong Kong's police chief from 2011 to 2015.

He warned that any country that suspends its fugitive agreement with Hong Kong will send a wrong message to the city's criminals: Here is a safe haven for you.

"Similarly, the move is going to tell these countries' criminals to flee to Hong Kong," he added.

In addition, Tsang said he thinks the decisions to halt extradition agreements with Hong Kong are not conducive to international cooperation to crack down on cross-border crimes, which will harm the interests of the general public.

A number of cases handled under the rendition agreement include crimes such as trafficking people and drugs, Tsang said.

"But now you say we're not going to work together. Who's going to benefit from the decision?" Tsang said.

Tsang said that the United Nation conventions on all these transnational organized crimes appeal for international cooperation. "But what these individual countries are doing is contrary to the spirit of UN conventions," he said.

Tsang urged the countries who have announced the suspension of their fugitive agreements with Hong Kong to correct their mistake as soon as possible.

Tsang said the unilateral decisions made by some foreign countries to halt the existing agreement shows a kind of "Cold War mentality", which means that the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are always in the wrong, no matter what they have done.

He pointed out that some Western countries' politicians with such a mentality are attempting to demonize the authorities of the Chinese mainland and the HKSAR.

"When we try to bring peace back to Hong Kong by introducing the National Security Law, they threatened us with sanctions," the former police chief said.

Tsang said he hopes the dangerous mentality will stop, adding that otherwise, it will be catastrophic for the whole world.

Wu Yufei contributed to this story.

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