Corruption on the rise in China. Basic Law under Review in Beijing. Just another day in the Cantonese newspapers of Hong Kong!
Justice Department suggests that court ask Beijing for judicial interpretation
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has previously said many times that he would try his hardest to avoid asking Beijing for judicial interpretations to resolve right of abode issues. However, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen admitted yesterday that the Justice Department had recommended that the Court of Final Appeal ask the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to clarify the meaning of its 1999 interpretation of Article 24 of the Basic Law, which deals with permanent residency. Yuan said that the actions of the Justice Department would not affect Hong Kong’s judicial independence or harm the rule of law. However, the legal community feels that the issue in question is one for Hong Kong alone to resolve and thinks that the Justice Department’s action is setting a bad precedent of putting pressure on the court.
Specialist faults Lamma ferry disaster suspects
Yesterday, at the Lamma ferry disaster hearing, an English maritime expert accused the captains of the colliding vessels of “human error”. He said that the crews of the Lamma IV and the Sea Smooth had violated several items of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. For instance, when a collision was imminent, the Sea Smooth turned to port instead of to starboard, an action that was against the regulations. He also said that the Lamma IV should have been steaming at half speed at the time of the crash but was instead moving at full speed.
Reports of government corruption up 13 percent
According to statistics by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), in the first 11 months of this year, complaints about suspected corruption committed by officials within government departments and public organizations rose by over 10 percent. Nevertheless, Laura Cha Shih May-lung, Chairwoman of the ICAC Advisory Panel on Corruption, believes that Hong Kong’s corruption situation is stable. She does not think that recent high-profile cases of corruption, such as those involving former Chief Executive Donald Tsang, former Secretary for Development Mak Chai-kwong and former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui, will have a big negative impact on overall corruption in the city.