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Nov 13, 2023 | In The News

Hong Kong Free Press

A pro-Beijing lawyer has petitioned Hong Kong’s High Court to allow “all people” to be able to arrest five US lawmakers who have sought to impose sanctions on Hong Kong judges and prosecutors.

In a writ filed on Friday in his company’s name, Sino Moral Limited, Jimmy Siu asked the High Court to hand down an order for the arrests of US representatives Young Kim, Jim McGovern, and John Curtis, as well as senators Dan Sullivan and Jeff Merkley.

The five lawmakers were behind a bill introduced on November 1 asking Washington to determine whether 49 designated national security judges, prosecutors, and government officials “accountable for human rights violations” should face sanctions under existing US legislation.

According to local media reports, Siu said the five intended to pressure Hong Kong’s courts by introducing the Hong Kong Sanctions Act, and accused them of perverting the course of justice and contempt of court.

He petitioned the court to allow the arrests of the five lawmakers, not just by the police, but by civilians as well.

Sanctions row

The introduction of the act earlier this month has escalated into a political row, with Hong Kong slamming the “despicable” intimidation, and pro-establishment heavyweights saying that national security cases may be moved to mainland China if US sanctions were to disrupt court proceedings.

Liu Guangyuan, deputy director of China’s Liaison Office, called the US move “ridiculous” when he gave a speech during Hong Kong Legal Week from November 6 to 10.

Lau Siu-kai, a consultant for semi-official Beijing think tank the Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, said last week that Beijing had prepared “a last resort” in Article 55 of the national security law, which states that cases may be transferred to mainland Chinese jurisdiction under certain circumstances such as foreign interference.

But Hong Kong’s justice minister Paul Lam has dialled backed that narrative, saying he was confident that Hong Kong could handle upcoming national security cases.

Siu has a track record of launching legal battles against Hong Kong opposition figures. In 2016, he took legal action to revoke pro-democracy activist Benny Tai’s passport, alleging that the former law scholar had advocated for Taiwan’s independence. In 2017, he filed a writ asking the Equal Opportunities Commission to investigate lawmaker-elect Yau Wai-ching over her oath-taking fallout.

In 2021, Siu petitioned the High Court to allow the Department of Justice to prosecute Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong man who allegedly killed his girlfriend in Taiwan and fled to Hong Kong. The case sparked a political crisis over a now-axed extradition bill which, in turn, led to months of intense protests and unrest in Hong Kong.

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