Paper for LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs
on 14 October 1996

Action to be taken by the HKG in preventing bribery and corruption with regard to HKSAR first Chief Executive selection exercise

At its meeting on 18 December 1995, Members of the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs raised questions on the applicability of electoral and anti-corruption laws of Hong Kong to the Selection Committee’s selection of the first Chief Executive. We explained at the time that we were not aware of any HK electoral legislation which would apply to the Selection Committee.

2. At the Panel meeting of 15 January 1996, we informed Members that legal advice had been sought and confirmed that the relevant provisions of existing electoral and anti-corruption laws, including the Electoral Provisions Ordinance, the Legislative Council (Electoral Provisions) Ordinance, the Boundary and Election Commission Ordinance and the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Ordinance, were only applicable to elections of the Legislative Council, the two Municipal Councils, District Boards and Heung Yee Kuk and Rural Committees.

3. The ICAC also confirmed that existing electoral laws in Hong Kong do not cover the election of the first Chief Executive by the Selection Committee. The ICAC, therefore, has no authority to investigate allegations of corruption in such election under these laws. As to whether other legislation will apply, this will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.

4. The legal position on the subject remains unchanged.

5. The question of how the Selection Committee is to conduct its business will be for the Committee to determine. We have, however, impressed upon the Chinese side at every available opportunity of the importance of the selection procedures for the first Chief Executive being fair and open.

6. In this connection, we note that a Chinese official has told the media after the recent Preparatory Committee plenary on 4 and 5 October that the Selection Committee Sub-group will produce a set of guidelines for Selection Committee members in about a month’s time. The guidelines will include, among other things, that Selection Committee members must be honest and clean and will not accept any advantages. The guidelines will be submitted to the next Preparatory Committee plenary in early November for approval.

Constitutional Affairs Branch
October 1996

Last Updated on 13 August 1998