SAR gov­ern­ment seeks to dis­pel mis­con­cep­tions over co-lo­ca­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By WILLA WU and SHADOW LI in Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials on Wed­nes­day clar­i­fied is­sues around the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment for the Hong Kong sec­tion of the Guangzhou-Shen­zhen-Hong Kong Ex­press Rail Link (XRL) as a host of mis­con­cep­tions have arisen.

Sec­re­tary for Jus­tice Rim­sky Yuen Kwok-ke­ung re­it­er­ated that the plan does not in­volve the ced­ing of any land.

Speak­ing dur­ing a lo­cal ra­dio pro­gram, Yuen re­ferred to Ar­ti­cle 7 of the Ba­sic Law, say­ing it is within the right of the city to lease a piece of its land to the main­land, as the city’s land and nat­u­ral re­sources are State-owned, while they are man­aged by the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion gov­ern­ment.

The gov­ern­ment on Tues­day an­nounced it would in­tro­duce a one-stop im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms clear­ance ser­vice to fast-track pas­sen­gers in­side the XRL’s West Kowloon Ter­mi­nus in Hong Kong. A de­sig- nated leased area in the ter­mi­nus will be set aside for main­land au­thor­i­ties to con­duct im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms checks.

Ar­ti­cle 7 of Hong Kong’s Ba­sic Law stip­u­lates that “the land and nat­u­ral re­sources within the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion shall be State prop­erty. The Gov­ern­ment of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion shall be re­spon­si­ble for their man­age­ment, use and de­vel­op­ment and for their lease or grant to in­di­vid­u­als, le­gal per­sons or or­ga­ni­za­tions for use or de­vel­op­ment.”

The city’s le­gal chief said he hoped the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil would pass lo­cal leg­is­la­tion on the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment be­fore the sum­mer hol­i­day next year.

He urged peo­ple not to over-politi­cize the trans­port or le­gal is­sues in­volved in the plan and ap­pealed to the pub- lic to en­gage in ra­tio­nal dis­cus­sion.

At a dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sion on Wed­nes­day, Chief Sec­re­tary for Ad­min­is­tra­tion Matthew Che­ung Kin-chung also made clarifications to fur­ther ease public con­cerns on cross­bound­ary law en­force­ment by main­land au­thor­i­ties.

He said main­land per­son­nel would only be able to per­form du­ties in an en­closed area in the con­trol point at West Kowloon Ter­mi­nus. More­over, they had no right to ven­ture out­side the Main­land Port Area of the ter­mi­nus at will. They also would not be able to stay overnight in Hong Kong.

Che­ung said the gov­ern­ment was will­ing to dis­cuss the mat­ter with LegCo mem­bers even though the leg­is­la­ture is in sum­mer re­cess. Guided tours to the rail link ter­mi­nal can be ar­ranged for those in­ter­ested. This is to dis­pel any mis­un­der­stand­ings about the co-lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment, he added.

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