Au­thor­i­ties an­nounce 3-step process to en­act plan for ex­press rail ter­mi­nal

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

The Hong Kong SAR Gov­ern­ment on Tues­day an­nounced de­tails of the long-awaited co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment pro­posal for the Guangzhou-Shen­zhen-Hong Kong Ex­press Rail Link (XRL), say­ing they would im­ple­ment the ar­range­ment in three steps.

Brief­ing me­dia on pro­posal de­tails, Sec­re­tary for Jus­tice Rim­sky Yuen Kwok-ke­ung said both Hong Kong and the main­land side are work­ing on the first step, which aims to con­firm con­tents of the co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment, in­clud­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of port ar­eas, de­lin­eation of port ar­eas, gov­ern­ing law and ju­ris­dic­tion and im­mi­gra­tion con­trol.

The agree­ment would later be sub­mit­ted to the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee (NPCSC) for ap­proval and rat­i­fi­ca­tion be­fore be­ing im­ple­mented in Hong Kong through en­act­ment of lo­cal leg­is­la­tion, Yuen added.

De­scrib­ing the discussion with the main­land on step one as “very ma­ture”, Yuen stressed that the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment would not con­tra­vene the Ba­sic Law, nei­ther would it dam­age Hong Kong peo­ple’s in­ter­ests.

Yuen said the con­trol point — a four-story com­plex — would have a Hong Kong Port Area and Main­land Port Area. Both ar­eas would be sub­ject to their re­spec­tive ju­ris­dic­tion in ac­cor­dance with re­spec­tive laws, with per­son­nel hav­ing no au­thor­ity to ex­er­cise pow­ers out­side the stip­u­lated ar­eas.

The Main­land Port Area, leased by the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion gov­ern­ment to the main­land, cov­ers about 105,000 square me­ters — a quar­ter of the con­trol point’s con­struc­tion floor area — and also cov­ers train com­part­ments of the rail link.

“Since the Main­land Port Area is legally re­garded as out­side the ter­ri­to­rial bound­ary of the Hong Kong SAR, the stip­u­la­tion of Ar­ti­cle 8, 18 and Ar­ti­cle 22 of the Ba­sic Law do not ap­ply, and there­fore the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment would not be in con­tra­ven­tion of the Ba­sic Law,” ex­plained Yuen.

He also em­pha­sized that there would be no “le­gal gray zone” within the con­trol point as ar­eas are clearly marked.

Yuen noted that the gov­ern­ment would spare no ef­fort in ex­plain­ing and pro­mot­ing the agree­ment to both the Hong Kong pub­lic and Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil mem­bers be­fore sub­mit­ting the agree­ment pro­posal to the NPCSC.

He hinted that se­nior of­fi­cials would talk with stake­hold­ers to ob­tain pub­lic feed­back on the agree­ment while the gov­ern­ment would also or­ga­nize dis­cus­sions with law­mak­ers dur­ing the LegCo sum­mer re­cess.

Sec­re­tary for Se­cu­rity John Lee Ka-chiu, who joined the press con­fer­ence with Yuen, said agen­cies sta­tioned in the Main­land Port Area would in­clude im­mi­gra­tion con­trol, cus­toms, in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine, port and se­cu­rity con­trol units. He added that he was told the main­land side would man­age the area along the same lines as it uses for other ports.

Sec­re­tary

The co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment will not con­tra­vene the Ba­sic Law, nei­ther will it dam­age Hong Kong peo­ple’s in­ter­ests.” Rim­sky Yuen Kwok-ke­ung, sec­re­tary for jus­tice

for Trans­port and Hous­ing Frank Chan Fan, who also joined the me­dia brief­ing, said the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment would max­i­mize eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits the XRL brings to Hong Kong, and boost the con­nec­tiv­ity with the main­land and cre­ate more jobs.

Chan pointed out that there are sim­i­lar co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ments over­seas, such as those be­tween the United King­dom and France, and the United States and Canada. And a sim­i­lar co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment be­tween Hong Kong and the main­land has been op­er­at­ing smoothly at Shen­zhen Bay Port since 2007, he added.

In clos­ing the press con­fer­ence, Yuen urged so­ci­ety to ra­tio­nally dis­cuss the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment, as the high-speed train con­cerns not only trans­port and lo­gis­tics, but also Hong Kong’s fu­ture devel­op­ment and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

The XRL Hong Kong sec­tion is ex­pected to start run­ning in the third quar­ter of next year.

Jan­ice Fung contributed to the story.

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