LC Paper No. CB(2) 1258/98-99
(These minutes have been seen by
Ref : CB2/PL/SE/1
LegCo Panel on Security
Minutes of meeting held on Thursday, 3 December 1998
at 2:30 pm in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building
Hon James TO Kun-sun (Chairman)
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-fooMembers attending:
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon Margaret NG
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JPMembers absent:
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Howard YOUNG, JPPublic Officers attending:
Clerk in attendance:
- Item III
- Mrs Regina IP
- Secretary for Security
- Mr Raymond WONG
- Deputy Secretary for Security 1
- Mrs Carrie WILLIS
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Security A
- Mr Stephen WONG
- Solicitor General (Atg.)
- Mr Gordon FUNG
- Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime)
Hong Kong Police Force
- Item IV
- Ms CHANG King-yiu
- Deputy Secretary for Security 2
- Mr Kelvin PANG
- Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services (Rehabilitation)
Staff in attendance:
- Mrs Sharon TONG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)1
I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting
- Mr Jimmy MA, JP
- Legal Adviser
- Miss Betty MA
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 1
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 749/98-99 and CB(2) 751/98-99)
The minutes of meetings held on 9 October 1998 and 13 October 1998 were confirmed.II. Date of next meeting and items for discussion
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 765/98-99 (01))
2. Members agreed to discuss the following items at the next Panel meeting to be held on 7 January 1999 -
- Crime situation in 1998;
- Taking of intimate and non-intimate sample or Licensing of Karaoke establishments (to be advised by the Administration); and
- Ambulance service for passenger using the new Airport at Chek Lap Kok.
(Post-meeting note : The Administration had advised that 'Licensing of Karaoke establishments' be discussed at the Panel meeting on 7 January 1999 and that 'Taking of intimate and non-intimate sample' was proposed for discussion at the meeting to be held in February 1999)
III. Arrangements with the Mainland on surrender of fugitive offenders
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 748/98-99(02)) Briefing by the Administration
3. Secretary for Security (S for S) stated at the outset that the following four principles were adopted for discussing the arrangements with the Mainland on surrender of fugitive offenders at this Panel meeting:
- Public consultation on the proposals would be carried out and the relevant legislation would be introduced after the discussion with the relevant Mainland authorities on devising the rendition arrangement had been completed. In the meantime, it would not be appropriate to disclose details of the proposals under discussion;
- It was inappropriate to disclose the views and stance of the relevant Mainland authorities in the course of discussion, which was in line with the Administration's usual practice adopted during bilateral negotiations or discussions;
- Any confidential information related to the operations of the Police would not be disclosed; and
- In order not to pervert the course of justice cases which were or would be under the court proceedings would not be discussed.
4. S for S said that the Administration was aware of the public concern, arising from the recent cases of CHEUNG Tze-keung and LI Yuhui, on the need for an early rendition agreement with the Mainland. Though the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government did not have a formal rendition arrangement with the Mainland, there existed an administrative arrangement whereby Hong Kong residents were returned from the Mainland to the HKSAR for investigation or trial if they had committed offences solely in Hong Kong, and if they had also committed offences in the Mainland, they were returned after proceedings in the Mainland had been completed. Since 1990, 128 fugitive offenders had been returned to Hong Kong from the Mainland. The Administration was of the view that the present arrangement was unsatisfactory. It did not wish to see the HKSAR becoming a haven for fugitive criminals. Preliminary discussion with the relevant Mainland authorities on a rendition arrangement had already started prior to the reunification. After the reunification, the HKSAR Government had continued its discussion with the Mainland authorities. Given the immense differences in the legal and judicial systems in the Mainland and the HKSAR, the Administration needed to proceed carefully. It was definitely not an easy task to devise a rendition arrangement which would be acceptable to both the HKSAR and the Mainland.
5. Referring to para. 8 of the information paper, S for S highlighted the five guiding principles in devising a rendition arrangement with the Mainland. She added that though the existing SFO Agreements and mutual legal assistance in force were formulated in accordance with the relevant United Nations (UN) Model Treaties, appropriate modifications had been made having regard to the individual legal systems of the signatories. Regarding the jurisdiction of the Mainland judiciary, S for S said that as stipulated in the Basic Law, the Public Security Ministry, the Procuratorate and the courts in the Mainland did not have jurisdiction over Hong Kong residents if they had committed crimes solely in Hong Kong. The relevant Mainland authorities would not investigate, prosecute and try a Hong Kong resident under the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China (PRC) for a crime committed solely in the SAR. The courts of the HKSAR should have jurisdiction over all offences committed by Hong Kong residents in the HKSAR under Hong Kong laws.
6. S for S assured members that the Administration would consult the public on the rendition arrangement with the Mainland upon completion of the discussions with the Mainland. Views from Members of the Legislative Council would be sought when the legislation as regards a statutory framework for the rendition arrangement was introduced.
(Post-meeting note : The speaking note of Secretary for Security on the arrangements with the Mainland on surrender of fugitive offenders was circulated to members vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 812/98-99 dated 7 December 1998)
Discussion The case of LAU Kwok-wah
7. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong and Mrs Selina CHOW pointed out that based on the Statement of Offences, LAU Kwok-wah appeared to have been tried in the Mainland for offences committed solely in Hong Kong. Some members were of the view that the case had arouse public concern about the judicial jurisdiction of the Mainland and HKSAR. In response, S for S said that on the basis of additional information obtained from the Mainland authorities, the Police's investigation and the reports made by the Police officer who was present at the court proceedings in respect of the trial of CHEUNG Tze-keung and his gang in the Mainland, the Administration had reasons to believe that LAU Kwok-wah was tried in the Mainland court for offences committed in the Mainland under Mainland laws.
Political offences exception in the rendition arrangement
|8. The Chairman opined that there was a lack of written evidence to substantiate the additional information quoted by the Administration. Some members had reservation about the stance of the Administration over this issue. The Chairman requested the Administration to keep members informed of further clarification sought from the Mainland authorities regarding the case of LAU Kwok-wah.||Adm |
9. Noting from para. 8(4) of the information paper that the usual safeguards in the existing SFO Agreements with other jurisdiction included the normal exclusion in relation to political offences and political prejudice, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong was concerned whether the Administration would fight for similar provisions to be included in the rendition agreement with the Mainland. The case of LAU Kwok-wah had aroused concern that a Hong Kong resident might be arrested in the Mainland and prosecuted under Mainland laws for offences committed in Hong Kong, such as being alleged for committing crimes of endangering national security and tried in the Mainland for his participation in political activities in Hong Kong which were non-criminal offences under Hong Kong laws.
10. S for S responded that in the course of discussion with the Mainland authorities, the Administration would make reference to the international practice in formulating the rendition arrangement with the Mainland. It was generally accepted international practice that persons accused or convicted of political crimes should not be extradited. In this connection, she noted that political offences had already been repealed under the amended Criminal Law of the PRC which came into force in 1997. Double criminality, amongst others, would be another international practice taken into consideration. An individual would be surrendered only if the offence in question would have been an offence had it been committed in Hong Kong.
11. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan enquired about the authorities to determine whether a person, regardless of whether he was a Hong Kong or Mainland resident, should be surrendered to the Mainland in relation to political offences and political prejudice allegedly committed in the Mainland. S for S said that the crux of the matter was on how the principle of double criminality would be applied.
12. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan asked how, in the event that an offence in question was an offence in both the Mainland and the HKSAR, evidence would be adduced having regard to the differences between the evidence requirements in the two places. S for S said that the handling of the issue would be subject to the proceedings for committal to be agreed in the rendition agreement. For example, under the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (FOO) (Cap 503), evidence in relation to the offence should be admissable by the Hong Kong court. In this connection, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan urged that the standard for admissibility of evidence by the Hong Kong courts should be adopted in the rendition agreement between the Mainland and the HKSAR.
13. The Chairman pointed out that the then Bills Committee on the Fugitive Offenders Bills had a lengthy discussion on the objective of the Bill, the handling of the political offences exception, etc. He suggested to circulate these information for members' reference.
(Post-meeting note : The above information had been circulated to members vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 799/98-99 on 7 December 1998.)
14. In response to Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong's further enquiry, S for S said that extradition was applicable only if the offence in question would have been an offence in the jurisdiction where an individual was arrested as well as in the requesting jurisdiction. If an offence in question would not have been an offence had it been committed in Hong Kong, request for extradition might be refused in accordance with international practice. S for S added that the relevant Mainland authorities had assured that the Public Security Ministry, the Procuratorate and the Mainland courts did not, and would not have jurisdiction over Hong Kong residents who had committed crimes in Hong Kong alone.
15. Referring to para. 8(4) of the information paper, Mr Albert HO pointed out that the usual safeguards in the existing SFO Agreements with other jurisdiction would only be of useful reference. Given that the discussion and negotiation of a rendition arrangement with the Mainland would be kept secret, Mr HO urged the Administration to explore the viability of other channels for collecting public views.
16. S for S responded that the rendition arrangement would be drawn up in line with the principles laid down in the UN Model Treaty on Extradition introduced in 1990. While some of the provisions in the Model Treaty were mandatory, some were discretionary, including the provision for seeking an assurance that the death penalty would not be carried out after the extradition. Parties concerned might agree to modifications to suit their mutual needs. S for S said that given the Administration had not yet consulted the Central People's Government on its proposal regarding the rendition arrangement, it was inappropriate to disclose details of the proposal. S for S stressed that the Administration did understand members' concerns and would not have the rendition agreement presented as fait accompli.
17. Miss Emily LAU asked if the Central People's Government had ever requested the Administration not to disclose the details of any discussion regarding the rendition arrangement. S for S responded that no such request had ever been received. She said that keeping the content of discussion confidential in the course of negotiation was not an unusual practice. S for S assured members that though the Administration might not be able to consult members at every stage of the discussion, members would have sufficient time to scrutinize the proposal as any rendition arrangement must be underpinned by local legislation.
18. Miss Emily LAU considered that public consultation before reaching any agreement on the rendition arrangement with the Mainland would be worthwhile as the discussion and negotiation might take two to three years. S for S clarified that the Administration expected that two to three years would be needed for the discussion as well as the passage of legislation on a rendition agreement with the Mainland.
19. Mr Albert HO and Mrs Selina CHOW also urged the Administration to actively consider ways to collect public views on the rendition arrangement with the Mainland so that any arrangement would not only be acceptable to the HKSAR Government and the Mainland authorities, but also the general public of Hong Kong.
Contents of the rendition agreement
20. Miss Emily LAU asked whether assurance from the Mainland had been sought such that no death penalty would be imposed on any offenders surrendered. S for S responded that the FOO which provided a statutory framework for SFO arrangements between the HKSAR Government and some other countries did not apply to the Mainland. Article 4 of the Criminal Law of the PRC provided that the Law was equally applied to anyone who committed a crime. No one should have the privilege of transcending the Law. Given the immense differences in the policy on death penalty in the Mainland and the HKSAR, it might not be easy to reach an early agreement on the rendition arrangement. The Administration had reflected this problem to the Mainland authorities.
21. Some members were of the view that any rendition agreement with the Mainland should not deviate from the UN Model Treaty on Extradition. Mr Martin LEE stressed that all the provisions of the rendition agreement with the Mainland, including the discretionary provisions, should adhere strictly to the Model Treaty. Given the immense differences in the legal systems in the Mainland the the HKSAR, he would not accept any modifications on the Model Treaty. In response, S for S said that following the spirit of formulating the Model Treaty was more important than strictly adhering to the exact wordings of the Model Treaty. She pointed out that as there was death penalty in the United States (US), assurance that the death penalty would not be carried out was not stipulated as a mandatory condition in its extradition treaties with other countries. With reference to experiences in Canada and the United Kingdom, there were at least two cases in which the fugitive offenders were surrendered without assurance from the requesting parties that the death penalty would not be carried out. S for S said that it might not be appropriate for the HKSAR Government to be too inflexible over the question of death penalty. She was not unduly worried that a lot of criminals would escape justice in Hong Kong by fleeing to the Mainland if there was no SFO arrangement at the moment having regard to the heavier sentences handed down by the Mainland court.
Commission of economic offences in the Mainland
22. Mr Martin LEE expressed concern about Hong Kong residents being framed a charge in the Mainland as a result of business disputes. S for S said that the Administration understood the public concern over the possible allegation of economic offences in the PRC. She pointed out that offenders who had committed economic offences was not punishable by death under the Criminal Law of the PRC. In the event of bribery, only Mainland officials who had received graft would be liable to death penalty.
Committal proceedings for fugitive offenders
23. Miss Margaret NG said that as provided in section 10 of the FOO, the evidence in relation to an offence ought to be sufficient to warrant the person's committal for trial. She enquired about the proceedings for committal to safeguard any person being arrested having regard to the differences in evidence requirements between the courts in Hong Kong and in the Mainland. In response, S for S said that the Administration agreed that safeguarding the proceedings for committal was an essential element in formulating an arrangement on the surrender of fugitive offenders. It would give due emphasis to the issue when discussing with the Mainland authorities on a rendition agreement. S for S added that the evidence that warranted a person's committal for trial in the jurisdiction of other courts would be based on the laws of Hong Kong and the admissibility of evidence by the courts in Hong Kong.
Guiding principles in devising a rendition arrangement with the Mainland
|24. To facilitate members' understanding on how the committal proceedings implemented and the standard in use, the Chairman and Miss Margaret NG requested the Administration to provide information on how the committal proceedings, in particular the evidence requirements under section 10(6)(b)(iii) of the FOO, being implemented so as to demonstrate the prevailing standard.
25. Referring to para. 8 of the information paper, Mr Andrew CHENG enquired how the Administration could safeguard the One Country Two Systems principle and underpin the rendition arrangement by legislation in the HKSAR in devising a rendition arrangement with the Mainland having regard to the immense differences in the legal systems of the two places. For instance, there was no act of treason in the HKSAR at the moment as the implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law was not yet finalized. He also asked whether the Administration would withdraw from the negotiation table should any proposal from the Mainland be considered unacceptable.
26. In response, S for S said that the FOO which provided a statutory framework for the existing SFO arrangements did not apply to the Mainland. Thus, any rendition arrangement with the Mainland would have legal effect only after enacting the necessary legislation. She stressed that in devising any rendition arrangement with the Mainland, the guiding principles stated in the information paper would be observed and that it would have to be acceptable to both the HKSAR and the Mainland.
The Case of LI Yuhui
|27. Mr CHENG Kai-nam expressed concern about the prosecution of LI Yuhui in the Mainland in connection with the alleged murder committed solely in Hong Kong. He asked if the Administration was aware of the progress of the case and whether there were any similar precedent cases available for members' reference. S for S said that as the court proceedings in respect of LI Yuhui had not yet started in the Mainland, the Administration did not have any information regarding the charges laid against LI. However, there were no lack of precedent cases where though the principal offences were committed in other countries, the suspects were tried in Hong Kong court. Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) agreed to provide information, if any, on whether there were cases similar to the Li Yuhui case that Mainlanders were suspected to have committed offences in the SAR and were subsequently arrested and tried in the Mainland.||Adm |
28. Mr CHENG Kai-nam said that even though LI Yuhui was a Mainland resident, the Administration should consider seeking his return for trial in the Hong Kong court. S for S said that the Mainland court had jurisdiction over the case in accordance with Article 7 of the Criminal Law of PRC. Mr Martin LEE expressed disagreement with the Administration's interpretation of Article 7 of the Criminal Law of PRC.
29. In response to Miss Margaret NG, S for S said that if there was a rendition agreement with the Mainland, arrangement could be made for surrendering Mainland residents who had committed offences in Hong Kong and had returned to the Mainland.
Question of concurrent jurisdiction
30. Mr Martin LEE was concerned about the handling of cases of LAU Kwok-wah and LI Yuhui. He considered that these two cases ought to be tried in Hong Kong because the offences in question were committed in Hong Kong. Regarding the issue of concurrent jurisdiction, S for S said that overseas experience such as extradition arrangements between Canada and the US suggested several guidelines could be developed for handling the problem, viz. the place where the offence was committed, the nationality of the victim, the place where the evidence was found and the interests of the jurisdiction concerned.
|31. Mr Albert HO requested and Solicitor General (Ag) agreed to provide information on the interpretations of nationals of the PRC and the territory of the PRC in the light of concurrent jurisdiction.||
|32. The Chairman suggested that the issue of judicial jurisdiction of the Mainland and HKSAR be followed up in another meeting. To facilitate members' future discussion, he requested the Administration to provide information on the extradiction agreement between US and Canada as well as information on overseas experience in handling extradiction cases which involved the question of concurrent jurisdiction.||Adm |
(Post-meeting note: The information subsequently provided by the Administration had been circulated to members vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 830/98-99 on 8 December 1998.)
IV. Rehabilitation of offenders - legislative amendments to provide for new short term residential programmes for young offenders
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 748/98-99(04))
Briefing by the Administration
33. Deputy Secretary for Security 2 (DS/S(2)) said that the information paper presented a proposal on a new short-term residential programme for young offenders, in particular first-offenders. The proposed programme would be a short-term, more focused correctional and rehabilitation programme built in with community-based measures to provide an intermediate sanction particularly between existing Detention Centre programme and non-custodial measures. Should members support the proposal in principle, the Administration would proceed with the drafting of the legislation. The Administration planned to introduce the proposed legislation in mid-1999.
34. Mrs Selina CHOW said that she supported the proposal in principle. In order to rebuild the self-esteems of the young offenders in question, Mrs CHOW enquired whether the Administration would carry out any assessment when these young offenders joined the programme with a view to developing their talent and potential, for example, talent in art or sport. DS/S(2) said that the first phase of the programme would be on disciplinary training. At the same time, counselling and life and social skills training and basic work skills training would be provided. During the second phase of the programme, participants would be assigned to a mandatory residence in a halfway house. Offenders would be assisted to re-establish meaningful family and social relationship and stood up to the pressures and challenges of normal life after release. Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services (Rehabilitation) (AC/R) added that the total detention period under the programme would range from a minimum of three months to a maximum of nine months. The average detention period of a young offender would be around five to six months. Given the comparatively short detention period, emphasis would be placed on addressing their individual reintegration needs after release. Hence the first phase of the programme aimed to help the offenders learn to accept discipline and exercise better self-control and develop regular living pattern. During the second phase of the programme, offenders would be allowed to attend vocational training and educational courses, serve the community, etc.
35. The Chairman suggested the Administration to consider providing tailor-made rehabilitation programmes to individual offenders so as to assist them to develop their talent. AC/R said that the Administration might consider incorporating the suggestion in the second phase of the programme. DS/S(2) added that apart from disciplinary training, the programme also aimed to equip the participants with the necessary social and life skills to enhance their problem solving capacity. Through the second phase of the programme, on-going assessment would be conducted on each participant in order to determine when an offender could be released and what aftercare supervision should be arranged.
36. Mr Andrew CHENG said that the support from family members would play an important role in assisting a young offender to reintegrate into the society. He asked whether any specific programmes would be organized for the parents of the young offenders under the proposed programme. AC/R said that during the first phase of the programme, participants would be encouraged to mend their relationship with their families. In the second phase of the programme, a lot of emphasis would be placed on rebuilding their family relationship. Regular visits and discussions would be organized for the family members of the participants. Supervising officers would maintain a close contact with their family members during the aftercare supervision.
Clientele of the programme
37. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong enquired about the determining factors for detaining a young offender under the new programme, for instance, nature of the offence, physique of the offender, etc. AC/R said that the short-term residential programme provided an additional sentencing option for the court. The programme intended to fill a service gap for young male offenders who were physically unfit to attend the Detention Centre programme, and young female offenders who were regarded as being in no moral danger. The Detention Centre programme was for young male and first-offenders. Emphasis was placed on hard work, strenuous exercise, and the highest standard of discipline with a view to deterring them from committing offences again. At present, for those young male offenders who were physically unfit, should the court consider custodial sentence was needed, the court had to sentence them to Training Centres. Training Centres provide correctional training for young offenders, for an indeterminate period, ranging from a minimum of six months to a maximum of three years, which might be considered too harsh for first-offenders in terms of length of detention. For young female offenders, there was a lack of intermediate sanction between admission to Training Centres and on probation. Thus, should the court consider the young female offenders in question suitable for custodial sentence, it had to sentence them to a Training Centre which might be considered too harsh in terms of length of detention.
38. In response to Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong's enquiry on the criteria adopted in determining a young male offender as physically unfit for admission to the Detention Centre, AC/R said that a tough physique was needed for admission to the Detention Centre for doing the very strenuous exercise. The young offenders had to pass a series of tests before being admitted.
39. Mr Andrew CHENG opined that the assessment of a offender's suitability for detention in a Detention Centre, Training Centre or the proposed rehabilitation centre should be based on the severity of the offence committed instead of the physique of the offender concerned. AC/R said that the physique of an offender was one of the many factors taken into account by the court in handing down the sentence. Before the court made its decision, it would have made references to reports from the Correctional Services Department on the suitability for the different correctional programmes, reports from the probation officers of the Social Welfare Service Department such as the background of the offenders in question, any specific counselling service needed, etc. as well as the severity of the offences.
40. Dr LUI Ming-wah said that offenders whose offences were serious in nature should not be placed at the proposed rehabilitation centre even though they were considered physically unfit for the Detention Centre programme. Other forms of custody should be considered. AC/R said that the court would have taken into account many factors in determining the sentences of individual offenders. Physical condition was only one of the considering factors. DS/S(2) added that for minor offences which were not punishable with imprisonment, the court might order the offenders to perform community service work under the Community Service Orders Ordinance. Whilst offenders who were either physically unfit or disabled had committed offences that were punishable with imprisonment, there was a service gap between putting them on probation and sending them to Training Centre. The proposed programme would provide an additional sentencing option for the court. The sentences in respect of individual offenders would be a question for the court to decide.
Cost-effectiveness of the Detention Centres
|41. Dr LUI Ming-wah requested and the Administration agreed to provide information on the respective circumstances under which the court would sentence offenders to the Detention Centre and the Training Centre.||Adm |
|42. The Chairman requested and the Administration agreed to provide information on the types of illness which would render an offender not suitable for detention at Detention Centres.||Adm |
43. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong opined that one did not necessarily need to have a strong physique in order to commit offences. He asked whether the Administration would consider lowering the admission requirements of the Detention Centres so as to enhance its cost-effectiveness. In response, AC/R said that an established physical training course was adopted in the Detention Centres with a view to deterring the young offenders from committing offences again. He pointed out that quite a number of young male offenders meet the physique requirements for admission.
44. Dr LUI Ming-wah considered it important to help young offenders, re-establish their self-esteems in order for them to reintegrate into the society. Thus, it was an undesirable arrangement for the supervising officers to contact the employers of the offenders after their release. AC/R said that it was considered necessary to contact the employers in order to supervise the offenders' behaviour while at work. The supervising officers would contact the employers in the capacity of the offenders' friends. Based on experience, such visits had no impact on the working relationship between the offenders under supervision and their employers. Moreover, offenders after release, very often, needed the assistance of the supervising officers to secure an employment.
Cost-effectiveness of the proposed programme
|45. In response to Dr LUI Ming-wah, AC/R said that according to the results of the survey carried out on persons remanded for the pre-sentence assessment reports from 1995 to 1997, it was estimated that about 300 male offenders and 80 female offenders would be eligible for the new scheme each year. DS/S(2) added that the total number of participants of the new scheme would approximately be 70 to 90 at any one time. Regarding the funding proposal, DS/S(2) said that the breakdown of the estimates for the proposal had yet to be finalized. Funds would be bid in the context of the 1999 Resources Allocation Exercise. The Chairman requested the Administration to include a breakdown of the additional resources required in the related legislative proposal.||Adm |
46. The Chairman suggested that the Administration might consider amending the relevant legislation so that a Training Centre could provide shorter length of detention and correctional training for young offenders. DS/S(2) said that the Training Centre programme aimed to provide structured correctional training for offenders who had committed more serious crimes. It was considered inappropriate to shorten the period of training in a Training Centre.
47. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong said that given only about 70 young offenders would be treated at any one time under the proposal, he wondered if the number of correctional services staff in a rehabilitation centre would exceed that of the young offenders. He opined that some other cost-effectiveness alternatives to provide an intermediate sanction for young offenders ought to be considered, such as extending the scope of existing correctional institutions. In addition, the Administration did not differentiate clearly the admission criteria to a Detention Centre and Rehabilitation Centre. In the circumstances, he reserved his position on the proposal. In response, DS/S(2) said that the Administration would carefully take into account the cost effectiveness of the proposed programme. Nevertheless, she stressed that the effectiveness of a rehabilitation programme for young offenders should not be measured solely in monetary term.
48. The Chairman pointed out that the court was fully aware of the sentencing options available for young offenders. In fact, the Judiciary had persistently requested for an intermediate sanction in respect of young offenders. In this connection, he supported the proposal in principle.
49. The Chairman concluded that most members supported the proposed programme in principle. He requested the Administration to take into account members' views regarding the operation of the programme when drafting the relevant legislation.
50. The meeting ended at 5:00 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
14 January 1999