on 22 January 1998
Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Security
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
This paper informs Members of our proposal to introduce subsidiary legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Passports Ordinance (the Ordinance), which was enacted in July 1997.
2. Section 10(1) of the Ordinance provides for persons aggrieved by the D of Imm's decision in respect of the issue, validity, amendment and cancellation of HKSAR passports to appeal against that decision and for the Secretary for Security to make regulations to provide for the establishment and operation of such an appeal mechanism. (Copy of S10 of the Ordinance is at Annex.) Members last discussed this issue at the Security Panel meeting on 21 August 1997, and expressed their wish for the appeal mechanism to be in place as soon as possible.
3. The proposed Regulations provide for -
Progress of drafting of regulations
- the establishment of the Appeal Board;
- every appeal to be heard and decided as expeditiously as practicable;
- the appointment of suitably qualified persons by the Secretary for Security;
- each Appeal Board to constitute -
- a Chairman who is appointed from among persons who are qualified for appointment as District Judges; and
- two members selected from the panel of persons appointed in (c) above;
- the view of the majority to prevail if there is difference of opinion on matters of fact, and for the Chairman's interpretation to be conclusive on legal issues;
- legal representation to be allowed; and
- the Chairman of the Appeal Board to determine procedural details of the Appeal Board's workings; and
- the Appeal Board to handle appeals against decisions made prior to its establishment.
4. The drafting of the regulations is near completion. We should be in a position to introduce the subsidiary legislation into the PLC shortly. We hope the regulations can be enacted within this session.
5. The number of applications rejected since 1 July 1997 is very small (as of 10 January 1998, only 30 out of over 400,000 processed applications). In view of this, coupled with our plan to have the regulations enacted within this session and the Appeal Board's proposed power to consider appeals against decisions made prior to its establishment, we consider a provisional appeal board unnecessary.