LegCo Paper No. CB(2)2116/96-97
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/IP, CB2/PL/SE

LegCo Panel on Information Policy
and LegCo Panel on Security

Minutes of Joint Meeting
held on Friday, 11 April 1997 at 12:20 pm
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

LegCo Panel on Information Policy
*Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing (Chairman)
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
*Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
*Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

LegCo Panel on Security
Hon James TO Kun-sun (Chairman)
Hon IP Kwok-him
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

Members Absent :

LegCo Panel on Information Policy
*Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

LegCo Panel on Security
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon LI Wah-ming
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon Howard YOUNG
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon HO Chun-yan
Hon LO Suk-ching
Hon Margaret NG
Hon TSANG Kin-shing

(* also a member of LegCo Panel on Security)

Public Officers Attending :

Mrs Carrie YAU
Deputy Secretary for Security 1
Mr Philip CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Security E
Miss Vega WONG
Assistant Secretary for Security E2
Senior Assistant Law Draftsman

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2)2

Staff in Attendance :

Ms Kitty CHENG
Assistant Legal Adviser 2
Mr Colin CHUI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2

I. Election of Chairman

Miss Emily LAU was elected Chairman of the joint meeting.

II. Confirmation of minutes of meetings on 16 January and 18 February 1997 and matters arising

(LegCo Paper Nos. CB(2)1392 and 1635/96-97)

2. The minutes of meetings held on 16 January and 18 February 1997 were confirmed.

III. Follow-up on Administration’s consultation paper on the Interception of Communications Bill

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2)1777/96-97(01))

Submissions on the consultation paper

3. In reply to the Chairman, representatives of the Administration said that they had so far received 14 submissions in the Administration’s consultation exercise ending on 4 April 1997. The submissions were from individual members of the public, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, lawyers, academics, the Frontier and a LegCo Member.

Timetable for the public bill

4. On the question of timetable for the public bill, the Administration pointed out that it had yet to decide on the introduction of the public bill into the Legislative Council (LegCo), pending analysis of the submissions received and the views of LegCo Members on the White Bill.

5. The majority members of the Panel failed to understand the Administration’s indecision since -

  1. according to the Law Reform Commission (LRC), the existing laws on interception of communications were inconsistent with Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) replicated as Article 14 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights under Section 8 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance.

  2. the Administration accepted LRC’s key recommendations on which the Bill was based; and
  3. the Governor had pledged to introduce all legislation having an impact on freedom of the press/freedom of expression into LegCo before 1 July 1997.

They were very concerned about the delay in the introduction of the Bill, which meant that it might not be enacted in the current legislative session.

6. Mr IP Kwok-him opined that, in view of the wide-ranging implications of the public bill on the community, adequate time should be allowed for its scrutiny. He therefore did not object to the introduction of the bill after 1 July 1997.

Timetable for Mr James TO’s Bill

7. In response to the Chairman, Mr James TO said that he was awaiting ruling of the President of LegCo on whether his Bill on the same subject had a charging effect.

(Post-meeting note: As the President had ruled that the Bill did not have a charging effect, Mr James TO would introduce the Bill into LegCo on 23 April 1997.)

IV. Way forward

8. Members agreed to the following -

  1. the two Panels would jointly write to the Governor urging for the early introduction of the public bill into LegCo with a view to enactment in the current legislative session.
  2. the Chairman would accordingly report to the House Committee meeting held that afternoon and recommend it to support the request set out in para 8(a).

    (Post-meeting note: The Chairman raised this subject at the House Committee meetings held on 11 and 18 April 1997. At the House Committee meeting on 18 April 1997, it agreed to write to the Governor.)

  3. The subject might be further discussed following the Information Policy Panel meeting to be held on 9 May 1997.

9. The meeting ended at 12:50 pm.

LegCo Secretariat
1 May 1997

Last Updated on 20 August 1998