Chief Executive says Department of Justice will apply to adjourn Jimmy Lai’s case today, Central govt to deal with the matter in a timely manner


29th November 2022 – (Hong Kong) Chief Executive John Lee said in a briefing with the media before the executive meeting today that he had submitted a report to the central government last night (28th) and noticed that 3 representatives of the central government supported the approach. The Department of Justice will apply to adjourn Jimmy Lai’s case today (29th). Lee believes that the central government will pay attention to the matter and deal with it as soon as possible. He said that British barrister Tim Owen KC’s application to participate in the national security law case was the first time and there was no precedent to follow.

Lee said that this interpretation of the law is only for overseas legal practitioners who do not have local comprehensive professional qualifications. In other words, foreign barristers and lawyers who have local practicing qualifications can participate in national security cases.

Lee said that the central government is aware of the development of the case, including the trial date, and believes that the central government will deal with it expediently. The Department of Justice will handle the adjournment in a timely manner. He believes that it is most suitable and in line with the interests of Hong Kong to deal with the Lai’s case after a major interpretation of the law. He said that he would respect the court’s opinion, but as the chief executive and the chairman of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR, he was considering the seriousness of the case, so he made the above decision, describing it as “necessary”. He believed that after the relevant provisions were explained, the provisions would be improved so that Hong Kong can protect national security.

The Hong Kong government earlier received a letter from the central government requesting the chief executive to submit the work report of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR to the central government. He made a statement in his capacity as the chairman of the Committee saying that according to Article 3 of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the administrative, legislative and judicial organs of the SAR should effectively punish and stop violations of national security. He also pointed out that the National Security Law has been implemented in Hong Kong for two years.

Meanwhile, it is imperative to fully and faithfully enforce the law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China’s State Council said on Monday. The Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong granted the approval for Tim Owens to represent Lai in the case. According to the spokesperson, the move is contrary to the provisions of the law on safeguarding national security in the HKSAR that the executive authorities, legislature and judiciary of the region shall effectively prevent, suppress and impose punishment for any act or activity endangering national security in accordance with the law, said the spokesperson, noting that it also violates the legislative spirit and legal logic of the law. Submitting the report and making relevant recommendations in a timely manner in accordance with the instructions of the central government fully demonstrated John Lee’s sense of responsibility as the head and the prime responsible person of the region.