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June 14, 2019: Description of position from the Ministry of Justice on the issue of controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong

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Some media refers that the Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Justice supports the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance's amendment in Hong Kong. The Ministry strictly states as follows:

As the competent authority for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters in Taiwan, the department has always believed that justice is a common global goal, and the goal should not be different just because of different legal systems, nor should it be hindered by the fact that the two sides have not signed an agreement. Based on this concept, the Ministry has always conduct mutual legal assistance with various jurisdictions around the world under the principles of equality, dignity, reciprocity, and the protection of human rights.

On 12 February 2019, the Hong Kong Security Bureau released the information on the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. It was publicly stated that the amendment's purpose was to respond to Taiwan’s proposed mutual legal assistance and extradition for the murder case in Taiwan. If Hong Kong, an independent jurisdiction, could establish cooperation with Taiwan on the basis of equality, dignity, reciprocity, and the protection of human rights, MOJ is happy to see the result and the result is in a consistent position of actively establishing international judicial cooperation and realizing justice. Without the foundation of the previous disclosure, there would be no possibility of collaboration.

The contents of the amendment proposed by the Hong Kong Security Bureau on 26 March 2019 enable anyone in Hong Kong, irrespective of their nationality, to be sent to Mainland China for criminal investigation and trial. Before the doubt of the human rights' protection has been resolved, it is difficult for Taiwan and Hong Kong to promote any judicial cooperation related to fugitive offenders' transfer.

Because of this, the Ministry of Justice expressed at the press conference on 22 May 2019 that it is unacceptable that the Hong Kong government use the amendment of the extradition bill to transfer the criminal in the murder case. It is expected that the Hong Kong government could encourage outside opinions and rethink the direction of the amendment. In short, the Ministry will conduct judicial cooperation with Hong Kong to transfer fugitive offenders only in cases where the concern of the protection of human rights has been removed.

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