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HK social groups back call to clarify overseas lawyers' status

By Li Bingcun | | Updated: 2022-12-01 13:47
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Photo taken on July 14, 2020 shows the Golden Bauhinia Square in South China's Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhu]

Various civil service and business groups in Hong Kong threw their weight behind the Hong Kong government's request for the standing committee of the nation's top legislature to clarify conditions for overseas lawyers to engage in national security cases in the city.

On Wednesday, four civil service groups issued a joint statement in support of the move. They are Government Employees Association, Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union, National School of Administration Hong Kong Alumni Association, and the Federation of HKSARG Civil Servants.

They said the government decision is legitimate and reasonable, as the HKSAR government is obliged to supervise the National Security Law's implementation in the city and seek legal interpretation if necessary.

Separately, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong also voiced support for the move, which they said will help prevent risks to national security, and safeguard the authority of the National Security Law and the constitutional order of the HKSAR.

On Monday, the Court of Final Appeal, the city's top court, allowed Jimmy Lai Chee-ying to hire British King's Counsel Timothy Owen to defend him in his national security case.

Following that, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu requested the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to issue an interpretation in accordance with Article 65 of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, to clarify whether overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practice generally in Hong Kong can engage in national security cases in the city.

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