18 March 1998
Democratic Party Questions "One Country, Two Systems of Justice"
Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee, Vice Chairman Dr. Yeung Sum and Security Spokesman James To today held a press conference to call for an explanation from the Secretary of Justice for the non-prosecution of
Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee member Sally Aw Sian in the Hong Kong Standard fraud case, in which three other defendants were alleged to have conspired with the newspaper publisher. The Democrats
noted that three persons have been charged with conspiring with the fourth, and yet the fourth person, Ms. Aw, will not be prosecuted.
The pro-democracy leaders said, "If there is a good reason, the public should know, particularly in light of what appears to be a trend of non-prosecution of sensitive cases," referencing the recent case of a Privacy Ordinance violation by Xinhua (also known as the New China News Agency, once China's de facto embassy in Hong Kong). In that incident, political leader Emily Lau and another individual requested personal files from Xinhua under the Privacy Ordinance, which mandates a response within 40 days. Xinhua did not respond for 10 months and denied possession of the relevant files, which the Privacy Commissioner Steven Lau said, "breached the provisions of the ordinance and that is an offense."
Martin Lee commented:
"We are very concerned about what appears to be a pattern of non-prosecution of sensitive cases, a new phenomenon in Hong Kong. The rule of law -- what distinguishes Hong Kong from China -- means no
individual or organisation is above the law. It is obviously not in the interest of Hong Kong that there is even an appearance laws are applied selectively.
Chief Executive Tung has unquestionably undermined confidence in the rule of law with his preposterous statement that the non-prosecution of Xinhua for what is admittedly an offense constituted 'a technicality.' As I have noted, tax cheats and other offenders -- who can now be expected to run the 'technicality' line of defense -- will certainly thank Mr. Tung.
While I do not wish to speculate about the reasons for these non-prosecutions, it is always the case that justice must not only be done, but must manifestly be seen to be done. Particularly when Hong Kong has no elected institutions to ensure accountability. We call on both Mr. Tung and the Secretary for Justice to give the public an explanation for what certainly appears to be the beginning of 'one country -- two standards of justice.'"

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