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Speech by S for S at the Signing Ceremony of the HK/India MLA Agreement (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, at the Signing Ceremony of the HK/India MLA Agreement in New Delhi, India today (September 14)ĄG

Honourable Minister Ramachandran, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     It gives me great honour to be here today to sign on behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) the Agreement on the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Government of the HKSAR and the Government of the Republic of India.  

     Globalisation and technological advancement have facilitated the flow of people, goods and information across borders.  While we are enjoying the benefits of these developments, criminals are taking advantage of the convenience brought by advancements in technology to commit transnational crimes. International co-operation across jurisdictions in judicial assistance is becoming ever more important in bringing criminals to justice. In this regard, Hong Kong has been sparing no effort in strengthening its law enforcement capability by expanding its network of bilateral arrangements with foreign jurisdictions on legal and judicial assistance.

     Hong Kong and India are long-time partners in judicial co-operation. In 1997, the two Governments signed the Agreement on the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders. The Agreement provides an effective mechanism for extraditing fugitives for the prosecution or the imposition or enforcement of a sentence in respect of extraditable offences between Hong Kong and India.  

     Hong Kong and India have also concluded the negotiation of a Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement. We are working closely together to bring the Agreement into force so that prisoners of the two places will be able to return to their places of origin to serve their sentence in an environment free of language and cultural barriers.

     The signing of the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between Hong Kong and India today marks an important step in fostering closer co-operation between the two places in legal and judicial assistance. The Agreement is the twenty-seventh of its kind that Hong Kong has concluded with foreign jurisdictions.  It enables a wide range of reciprocal assistance to be provided in the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences and in the proceedings relating to criminal matters.  We welcome this development, and look forward to working in partnership with India in maintaining law and order in our two places.  

     Hong Kong and India have always maintained close co-operation in the field of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. In the past five years, there were 20 mutual legal assistance in criminal matters requests between the two places.  

     I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to colleagues of both sides who have participated in the negotiation of the MLA Agreement between Hong Kong and India, and bringing the process to fruition. I am confident that Hong Kong and India will continue to foster closer relationship in different areas of co-operation in the years ahead.
     Thank you very much.

Ends/Monday, September 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:50


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