HK so­ci­ety wel­comes joint check­point plan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By SHADOW LI in Hong Kong stushadow@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Hong Kong’s business lead­ers and le­gal pro­fes­sion­als have ex­pressed high hopes for closer cross-bound­ary in­te­gra­tion and ties after the na­tion’s top leg­is­la­ture on Wed­nes­day ap­proved a jointcheck­point ar­range­ment for the Ex­press Rail Link.

The ar­range­ment, key to the Guangzhou-Shen­zhenHong Kong XRL, will let pas­sen­gers pass through Hong Kong and main­land cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion pro­ce­dures in one go at the West Kowloon Sta­tion. Of­fi­cials from both sides will per­form du­ties in des­ig­nated ar­eas at the ter­mi­nus in ac­cor­dance with their laws and reg­u­la­tions.

Hong Kong Tourism Board Chair­man Peter Lam Kin­ngok wel­comed the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee de­ci­sion.

Lam said the joint check­point ar­range­ment would sim­plify en­try and exit pro­ce­dures and fur­ther stream­line ex­changes be­tween peo­ple from both sides.

Lam said he ex­pected the ar­range­ment would boost the travel in­dus­try as it would have a pos­i­tive im­pact for Hong Kong by im­prov­ing co­op­er­a­tion on tourism with main­land cities.

Eric Fung Kwok-yau, pres­i­dent of Hong Kong Pro­fes­sion­als (Bei­jing) As­so­ci­a­tion, said the ar­range­ment is a win-win so­lu­tion for both sides, as it en­hances the ex­change of peo­ple and goods be­tween Hong Kong and the main­land.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing the eco­nomic ben­e­fits the ar­range­ment is ex­pected to bring, Fung said the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion gov­ern­ment should fast-track the lo­cal leg­is­la­tion to en­act it.

Si­mon Ho — a mem­ber of a Hong Kong business cham­ber based in Bei­jing — said Hong Kong be­ing linked to the na­tional high-speed rail­way net­work can fa­cil­i­tate the city’s in­te­gra­tion into the Guang­dong-Hong Kong-Ma­cao Greater Bay Area, as well as Hong Kong res­i­dents’ con­nec­tion to main­land cities.

“It is a com­mon as­pi­ra­tion of Hong Kong res­i­dents work­ing, do­ing business and study­ing on the main­land, for a long time, to open the Hong Kong sec­tion of the XRL,” Ho said.

Hong Kong’s le­gal sec­tor also hailed the le­gal­ity of the ar­range­ment.

Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cilor Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a prac­tic­ing bar­ris­ter, said the ar­range­ment, as ap­proved by the NPCSC, is ap­pro­pri­ate for trans­port ar­range­ments and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and will not im­pair Hong Kong’s gov­er­nance and the rights and free­doms en­joyed by Hong Kong res­i­dents.

Prac­tic­ing lawyer Ho­race Che­ung Kwok-kwan, vicechair­man of the Demo­cratic Al­liance for the Bet­ter­ment and Progress of Hong Kong, also backed the le­gal foun­da­tion of the NPCSC de­ci­sion.

Che­ung said the ar­range­ment is ab­so­lutely in line with the Con­sti­tu­tion, the Ba­sic Law and “one coun­try, two sys­tems”.

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