June 20, 2020 / 11:46 AM / 20 days ago

Reactions to details of Hong Kong's new national security law

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HONG KONG, June 20 (Reuters) - Following are reactions to the details of draft national security legislation for Hong Kong that were unveiled by Beijing on Saturday.

Andrew Collier, managing director, Orient Capital Research in Hong Kong:

“I think Beijing is tip-toeing carefully into the minefield of setting up a separate national security framework in Hong Kong. Investors will not be happy with any move by Beijing to interfere in Hong Kong’s autonomy, but they will wait to see how the law is implemented.

“Investors will bide their time before deciding on moving their capital out. Unless there are drastic measure like extraditing people to mainland in cases of financial crimes, they will be willing to give benefit of doubt in the short term.”

Benjamin Quinlan, CEO of Hong Kong-based consultancy Quinlan & Associates:

“It does call into question the issue of Hong Kong’s autonomy. If it’s genuinely limited in its scope at looking into national security matters then I don’t think it’s going to do much to investor sentiment compared to when it was first announced.

“Some people will probably think that you need to trade the dilution of autonomy with the restoration of peace and calm in the city. This will be welcomed by some businesses that were badly affected by the unrest for the last few months. However, concerns will inevitably remain for others who will consider ultimate legislative control now rests with Beijing.”

Angeline Chan, Solicitor and Progressive Lawyers Group Convenor:

“(Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam) to cherry pick judges is one of most concerning things for us. It’s an act to import political elements into the judiciary system which is supposed to be impartial.

Song Seng Wun, economist at CIMB Private Bank in Singapore:

“Since Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China, the new law only matters to those who intend to undermine the rule of law of China & Hong Kong.

“For the average person, life goes on. Should investors look at HK any differently? Are they at any risks? Can they still “make money” as they used to because of this new law? Since the answer is that they can still make money as they used to, in this financial centre, then worries about Hong Kong being undermined by this new law are greatly exaggerated.”

Simon Young, a barrister and professor at the University of Hong Kong’s law school:

“From these initial details, this new law presents unprecedented legal questions that we will have to confront in coming years.”

Giving the city’s chief executive the power to allocate judges in national security cases would “encroach on something we would say is part of judicial power.”

Ken Cheung, chief Asian FX strategist at Mizuho Bank, Hong Kong:

“I don’t see a lot in this right now. China’s action was within expectation. More important now is the U.S. reaction. At this point I think the impact is neutral. This doesn’t change a lot right now.”

Alvin Yeung, a pro-democracy lawmaker:

“Most worrying is it lacks details when it comes to specific criminal action and that remains highly vague which is of course extremely worrying. More importantly, it’s almost like Beijing’s hand is right in the centre of the administrative and judiciary wing of Hong Kong.

“The chief executive will be empowered to pick her own judges to trial cases of national security but what are the details?”

Steven Leung, Hong Kong-based sales director, UOB Kay Hian:

“Overall, I think the financial markets have been expecting an outcome like this, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise.”

“We haven’t seen huge capital outflows. Hong Kong will remain a global financial centre, don’t think that will change in the near term. In a way it’s a good thing that the uncertainty around the law has gone now.” (Reporting by Jessie Pang, Sumeet Chatterjee, Tom Westbrook, Kane Wu, Greg Torode, Noah Sin, Anshuman Daga Compiled by Anne Marie Roantree Editing by Toby Chopra, Mike Harrison and Frances Kerry)

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