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高鐵一地兩檢「共識」 有違基本法

2015/11/24 — 12:55

【法政匯思短評:關於律政司司長最近就高鐵一地兩檢安排之意見】
PROGRESSIVE LAWYERS GROUPS SHORT COMMENTARY REGARDING SECRETARY FOR JUSTICES RECENT COMMENTS IN RELATION TO THE CO-LOCATION ARRANGEMENT OF THE EXPRESS RAIL LINK

1. 律政司司長袁國強和運輸及房屋局局長張炳良於2015年11月21日在北京會晤港澳事務辦公室官員並討論有關廣深港高速鐵路(「高鐵」 )香港段「一地兩檢」的法律安排(「一地兩檢安排」) 。

2. 律政司司長在會後確實,雙方已達成共識,使一地兩檢安排得以實現,亦即代表內地官員可在香港特別行政區内行使中華人民共和國法律下的權力(「共識」)。與2015年5月20日的會議一樣,律政司司長並沒有詳細交代共識的細節,但認為該措施會符合《基本法》。律政司司長表明香港和內地的官員將於 2016年年初更詳細地討論該事宜。

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3. 我們已審視及考慮於不同司法管轄區下的一地兩檢安排。所有這樣的安排均要求東道國把車站的一個區域的主權轉移至毗鄰的國家,以使毗鄰國家的官員行使他們的權力。

4. 然而,我們認為該共識並不符合現行的《基本法》。原因如下:

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《基本法》第18條禁止內地法律於香港實施,而中華人民共和國移民和海關法例或法規無法通過《基本法》附件三引入香港。《基本法》第154條訂明該權力是屬於香港自治範圍內的。

因此,令共識符合《基本法》的唯一方法是修改《基本法》第18和22 條,例如訂立例外情況,容許香港特別行政區政府在指定領土内不引用《基本法》,以便內地官員於香港特別行政區之內行使中華人民共和國移民、海關及關稅法例 。

5. 作為律師,我們深切理解沒有憲制性文件可以一成不變。而本港的法院亦經常指出《基本法》本身正是一份活生生的法律文件。然而,當對憲制性文件作出改動前,尤其若果該等改動涉及司法管轄權的轉移及境外法律的應用時,必先提出重大的理由,及經過嚴謹的審查。

6. 我們認為,只為縮減幾分鐘的旅途時間,而修改《基本法》實在毫無必要,也完全不合常理。同樣地,任何通過扭曲或曲解《基本法》原本清晰的條文和結構,以實行某些所謂的會後共識,必將為《基本法》的憲制性地位及本港的法治帶來沉重的打擊。

7. 不論其經濟及交通運輸效益,高鐵項目既已耗用850億港元的納稅人公帑,法政匯思理解一地兩檢的安排問題必須得到解決。我們現正探討除了讓內地執法人員來港執法以外,是否有其他法律上可行的辦法可達至相同的目的,並將會適時發表研究結果。

8. 我們懇請律政司司長能清楚闡述一些符合現行《基本法》的相關建議。

 

法政匯思 2015年11月24日

 

1. On 21st November 2015, Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen, and Secretary for Transport and Housing, Anthony Cheung, met with Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office officials in Beijing to discuss the legal framework regarding the co-location arrangement (“Co-location Arrangement”) at Hong Kong section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (“Express Rail Link”). 

2. The Secretary for Justice confirmed after the meeting that parties had reached a consensus to enable a Co-Location Arrangement, and which would allow Mainland officials to exercise powers under PRC laws within the Hong Kong SAR (“Consensus”).  As with the same meeting on 20th May 2015, the Secretary for Justice did not elaborate on details of the Consensus but suggested that such measures will be consistent with the Basic Law.  The Secretary for Justice said that Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese officials will discuss the issues again in more detail early in 2016. 

3. We have reviewed and considered various forms of Co-Location Arrangements in different jurisdictions.  All such arrangements require the host states to transfer sovereignty in an area of the station to the adjoining state, for the adjoining state's officials to exercise their powers.

4. However, we consider that the Consensus will be inconsistent with the Basic Law as currently implemented.  This is because:

Article 18 HKBL prohibits the exercise of mainland law in Hong Kong and PRC Immigration and Customs laws or regulations cannot be introduced through Annex III as these powers are expressly within Hong Kong's autonomy under Article 154 HKBL. 

Thus, the only way any Consensus can be made to conform with the Basic Law would be to have Articles 18 and 22 HKBL amended, such as to carve out exceptions to enable the Hong Kong SAR Government to disapply the Basic Law to designated territories so as to enable Mainland officials to exercise PRC Laws on immigration, customs and excise within the Hong Kong SAR.

5. As lawyers, we appreciate that no constitutional text is immutable to change or amendment.  The Basic Law itself is described by our Courts as a living instrument.  However, when changes are to be made to a constitution, especially when these changes concern the transfer of jurisdictional power and the application of foreign law, such changes must require serious justification and stringent scrutiny. 

6. To amend the Basic Law for the purpose of shaving a few minutes off travel time is in our view, wholly unnecessary and completely devoid of common sense.  Similarly and in addition, any attempt at implementing any Consensus that involves any twisting or contorting of the clear text and structure of the Basic Law would cause immense harm to the credibility of the Basic Law as Hong Kong’s constitutional document, as well as the rule of law.

7. Having incurred over HK$85 billion of tax-payer money to construct the Express Rail Link, irrespective of the economic or logistical merits of this project, the Progressive Lawyers Group recognize that the issue of Co-Location Arrangement will have to be resolved. We are currently exploring whether there can be legal alternatives to Mainland officials exercising powers in Hong Kong that can substantially achieve the same objectives, and will make our conclusions public at an appropriate time."

8. We sincerely invite the Secretary for Justice to elaborate fully on proposals that are consistent with the Basic Law as currently implemented. 

 

Progressive Lawyers Group 24 November 2015

(標題為編輯所擬)

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