Hong Kong suspends legal assistance deals on criminal matters with Canada, Australia, Britain

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Hong Kong has suspended the implementation of agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with Canada, Australia and Britain, respectively.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said Tuesday in a statement that it has issued notices about the suspension to consulates of those countries in Hong Kong.

A government spokesman said that to safeguard national security through the enactment of laws is an international practice as the three countries all have put in place relevant legislation and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding their national security and sovereignty.

However, those countries used the enactment of the national security law in Hong Kong as an excuse to suspend the agreements on surrender of fugitive offenders with the HKSAR, he said, stressing that such action smacks of political manipulation and double standards.

The HKSAR government strongly objects to the moves as they posed a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a grave violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations, the spokesman said.

The wrongful act of Canada, Australia and Britain in politicizing juridical cooperation has seriously damaged the basis of juridical cooperation between the HKSAR and them, he said.

With the authorization and assistance of the central government, the HKSAR government has conducted close and effective law enforcement cooperation with those countries based on the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity, the spokesman said.

Despite the suspension of agreements with those three countries, the HKSAR has established a comprehensive cooperation regime and will as always uphold the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity, and carry out law enforcement cooperation with other members of the international community, the spokesman said.

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