SAR government seeks to dispel misconceptions over co-location
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.