Hong Kong is gearing up for what is expected to be one of its most massive protests in years against a proposed extradition law that would make it easier to dispatch fugitives to other places to face justice—including mainland China.
In addition to a march in Hong Kong on Sunday (June 9), which organizers hope will draw some 300,000 people, demonstrations against the draft legislation will take place in New York, Washington DC, and Sydney. Lawmakers are expected to debate the amendment, which would overhaul Hong Kong’s existing Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, next week.
The current ordinance explicitly rules out extradition to any part of the People’s Republic of China. Under it, there are 46 categories of crimes that are liable for extradition to jurisdictions with which the city’s government has signed agreements to surrender fugitives. Each agreement spells out which specific crime categories are covered with a particular country.
The proposed amendment would allow, for the first time since Hong Kong’s handover in 1997, extraditions from the city to mainland China on a case-by-case basis. Critics say the law would be “legalized kidnapping,” a reference to the Hong Kong booksellers who vanished in 2015 and later turned up in the control of Chinese authorities in the mainland. (The law could also be used by other jurisdictions that don’t have agreements with Hong Kong to request fugitives.)
After pushback from Hong Kong’s business community and pro-China lawmakers, nine categories of crimes were removed from the initial list of 46. The crimes removed from the list were mostly white-collar commercial crimes. In addition, offences have to be punishable by seven years or more in prison, up from the previous level of three years, to be extraditable.
Below is a list of the 37 categories of crime that remain in the proposed amendment (the nine that were struck out from the original total of 46 are also marked below):
- Murder or manslaughter, including criminal negligence causing death; culpable homicide; assault with intent to commit murder.
- Aiding, abetting, counseling or procuring suicide.
- Maliciously wounding; maiming; inflicting grievous or actual bodily harm; assault occasioning actual bodily harm; threats to kill; intentional or reckless endangering of life whether by means of a weapon, a dangerous substance or otherwise; offences relating to unlawful wounding or injuring.
- Offences of a sexual nature including rape; sexual assault; indecent assault; unlawful sexual acts on children; statutory sexual offences.
- Gross indecency with a child, a mental defective or an unconscious person.
- Kidnapping; abduction; false imprisonment; unlawful confinement; dealing or trafficking in slaves or other persons; taking a hostage.
- Criminal intimidation.
- Offences against the law relating to dangerous drugs including narcotics, psychotropic substances, precursors and essential chemicals used in the illegal manufacture of narcotics and psychotropic substances; offences relating to the proceeds of drug trafficking.
- Obtaining property or pecuniary advantage by deception; theft; robbery; burglary (including breaking and entering); embezzlement; blackmail; extortion; unlawful handling or receiving of property; false accounting; any other offence in respect of property or fiscal matters involving fraud; any offence against the law relating to unlawful deprivation of property.
Offences against bankruptcy law or insolvency law. Offences against the law relating to companies including offences committed by officers, directors and promoters. Offences relating to securities and futures trading.
- Offences relating to counterfeiting; offences against the law relating to forgery or uttering what is forged.
Offences against the law relating to protection of intellectual property, copyrights, patents or trademarks.
- Offences against the law relating to bribery, corruption, secret commissions and breach of trust.
- Perjury and subornation of perjury.
- Offences relating to the perversion or obstruction of the course of justice.
- Arson; criminal damage or mischief including mischief in relation to computer data.
- Offences against the law relating to firearms.
- Offences against the law relating to explosives.
Offences against the law relating to environmental pollution or protection of public health.
- Mutiny or any mutinous act committed on board a vessel at sea.
- Piracy involving ships or aircraft.
- Unlawful seizure or exercise of control of an aircraft or other means of transportation.
- Genocide or direct and public incitement to commit genocide.
- Facilitating or permitting the escape of a person from custody.
Offences against the law relating to the control of exportation or importation of goods of any type, or the international transfer of funds.
- Smuggling; offences against the law relating to import and export of prohibited items, including historical and archaeological items.
- Immigration offences including fraudulent acquisition or use of a passport or visa.
- Arranging or facilitating for financial gain, the illegal entry of persons into a jurisdiction.
- Offences relating to gambling or lotteries.
- Offences relating to the unlawful termination of pregnancy.
- Stealing, abandoning, exposing or unlawfully detaining a child; any other offences involving the exploitation of children.
- Offences against the law relating to prostitution and premises kept for the purposes of prostitution.
Offences involving the unlawful use of computers. Offences relating to fiscal matters, taxes or duties.
- Offences relating to unlawful escape from custody; mutiny in prison.
- Offences relating to women and girls.
Offences against the law relating to false or misleading trade descriptions.
- Offences relating to the possession or laundering of proceeds obtained from the commission of any offence described in this Schedule.
- Impeding the arrest or prosecution of a person who has or is believed to have committed an offence described in this Schedule.
- Offences for which persons may be surrendered under multi-lateral international conventions; offences created as a result of decisions of international organizations.
- Conspiracy to commit fraud or to defraud.
- Conspiracy to commit, or any type of association to commit, any offence described in this Schedule.
- Aiding, abetting, counseling or procuring the commission of, inciting, being an accessory before or after the fact to, or attempting to commit an offence described in this Schedule.