The Legislative Council is expected to vote on the amended extradition bill on June 20 after 66 hours of debate starting Wednesday (today), according to LegCo President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen.
Leung said the arrangement is aimed at ensuring that legislators will have sufficient time for debate and deal with the urgency of the matter
There will be 61 hours allocated for lawmakers to deliberate on the amendments and five hours for officials to answer questions, Leung said on Tuesday.
He said the arrangement is aimed at ensuring that legislators will have sufficient time for debate and deal with the urgency of the matter.
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The HKSAR government proposed revising the Fugitive Offenders and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters ordinances earlier this year to plug legal loopholes and deal with a case involving a Hong Kong resident who returned to the SAR after fleeing Taiwan where he had allegedly murdered his girlfriend. Hong Kong has been unable to surrender the man to the Taiwan authorities in the absence of a formal extradition agreement between the two places.
‘61 hours quite enough’
Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, former LegCo president, told China Daily on Tuesday that she thought Leung’s decision was appropriate and reasonable.
She said 61 hours was enough for lawmakers to scrutinize the bill, while a time limit is needed to stop any filibustering.
Fan observed that 61 hours was a pretty long time for scrutinizing the extradition bill and the 153 amendments tabled by lawmakers, as this was not a very complicated revision.
The opposition was clearly not happy about the decision because they want the bill killed off, or be postponed indefinitely, and never become law, she added.
The former president lamented that LegCo was no longer polite and orderly and that debates had deteriorated into “shouting matches”.
As of Tuesday afternoon, five social groups had informed the police they will hold assemblies outside the Legislative Council Complex and the Central Government Complex in Admiralty on Wednesday, Senior Superintendent of Police Ng Lok-chun said.
The police will be on hand to maintain public order and decide whether to close roads, he said.
An unauthorized assembly took place near the LegCo Complex in the early hours of Monday, followed by violent clashes in which eight police officers and two journalists were injured.
The clashes followed a protest march on Sunday afternoon against the extradition bill by about 240,000 people, according to the police, while the rally’s organizer put the number of protesters at 1.03 million.
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