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Hong Kong lawyers oppose greater powers to immigration director to stop residents from leaving city

Hong Kong lawyers oppose greater powers to immigration director to stop residents from leaving city

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Hong Kong, February 13 (ANI): Lawyers in Hong Kong have expressed concern over the city's government's proposal of giving "apparently unfettered power" to the immigration director to stop anyone from leaving the city.
Post the imposition of the draconian National Security Law by the Chinese government in June last year, many pro-democracy activists and politicians have fled the city and gone into exile.
The Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) submitted a paper to the city's legislative council expressing concern over the law which could bar any individual -- whether a resident of Hong Kong or not -- from leaving the city.
"The HKBA is deeply concerned about the proposal to confer an apparently unfettered power on the Director to prevent Hong Kong residents and others from leaving Hong Kong. It is particularly troubling that the grounds on which such an intrusive power may be exercised are not stated in the proposed legislation, and no explanation for why such a power is necessary, or even how it is intended to be used, is set out," the HKBA said in a brief.
According to media reports, the Hong Kong Government in late January proposed an amendment to a law that would give rights to the immigration director to impose a travel ban on any individual without seeking permission from the court.
If enacted, the law would "empower" the Secretary for Security to make regulations to empower the Director to direct that a passenger or a member of the crew of a carrier may or may not be carried onboard the carrier," the bill states.
"If a new power to prevent Hong Kong residents and others from leaving the region is to be conferred, the grounds on which it may be exercised must be stated clearly in the primary legislation, and it should be for the courts, not the Director, to decide when it is necessary to impose a travel ban. Proper safeguards, including the maximum duration of any such ban, must be also be provided," the HKBA added.
The bar association also stated that the draconian security law can force the person to surrender the travel documents.
Millions of Hongkongers had demonstrated peacefully against the extradition bill in June 2019, but over weeks and months, some subsequent protests became more violent as the administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam refused to acknowledge the demands of the opposition.
The repressive security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong that criminalises any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison. It came into effect on July 1, 2020.
Since then, a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested. (ANI)

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hong kong immigration National Security Law

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