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LCQ3: Co-location arrangements at the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link

     Following is a question by the Hon Sin Chung-kai and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (February 26):


     The project to construct the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) is targeted for completion in 2015, and the authorities expect XRL to be commissioned in 2016. In reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council in October last year regarding the implementation of the arrangements for "co-location" of immigration and customs facilities of the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("co-location" arrangements) at the West Kowloon Terminus of XRL (the XRL Terminus), the Government said that the detailed operation of the "co-location" arrangements involved complex legal and constitutional issues, and the Government had been negotiating with the mainland authorities. In connection with the implementation of the "co-location" arrangements at the XRL Terminus, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the Department of Justice as well as the Transport and Housing Bureau have conducted detailed studies, either on their own or by commissioning consultants, on the feasible options and issues of implementing the "co-location" arrangements, including the legal and constitutional problems which may arise from allowing the enforcement of mainland laws and permitting mainland law enforcement officers to take law enforcement actions within the Hong Kong territory; if they have conducted such studies, of the details, including the commencement and expected completion dates of such studies, and (if consultants have been commissioned) the expenditure involved, etc.; if not, whether they will conduct such studies;

(b) as the design of the XRL Terminus has set aside space for the provision of future boundary control facilities for the Mainland and Hong Kong, of the details of the location and area of the space set aside;

(c) whether it has discussed with the mainland authorities the arrangements in the event that the "co-location" arrangements cannot be implemented at the XRL Terminus, e.g. whether it is necessary to provide immigration facilities at various XRL stations on the Mainland; and

(d) given that when this Council scrutinised the Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area Bill in 2007, some Members had criticised the Government for not giving this Council sufficient time to scrutinise the Bill, resulting in their not being able to study in detail the related legal and constitutional issues, whether the Government will make an undertaking to this Council that should enactment of legislation be required in the future for implementation of the "co-location" arrangements at the XRL Terminus, it will allow no less than one year for this Council to scrutinise the relevant bill?



     My consolidated reply to the four parts of the Hon Sin Chung-kai's questions is as follows:

     Upon completion, the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) will provide express rail service between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, and connect to the wider urban metro, regional and national railway lines in the Mainland. Enhancing Hong Kong's connectivity with various parts of the Mainland, the XRL has significant strategic importance and transport functions.

     On the national level, the Hong Kong section of the XRL will become part of the national high-speed rail network now being developed at full steam. The train journey time between Hong Kong and the Southern, Central and Northern parts of the Mainland will be greatly shortened, facilitating region-wide and nation-wide travel and promoting the exchange between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

     Implementing the "co-location" arrangement at the West Kowloon Terminus of the XRL is very important to the realisation of the aforementioned functions. We have reserved space in the West Kowloon Terminus for the installation of "co-location" facilities. However, as we explained in our reply to the Legislative Council question raised in October last year, the detailed operation of "co-location" involves complex legal and constitutional issues. The Department of Justice, the Transport and Housing Bureau as well as relevant bureaux and departments are investigating such issues internally. The Government has also been discussing with the Mainland authorities, and the issues mentioned by the Hon Sin Chung-kai also fall within the scope of our examination. The related work is still underway.  Once specific agreement has been reached with the Mainland authorities on the customs, immigration and quarantine arrangements for the commissioning of the XRL, we will report to the Legislative Council in a timely manner.

Ends/Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30


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