Acting Chief Executive and Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung told journalists yesterday (16th December) that, in regards to the arrest of a Hong Kong man by mainland authorities on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the Immigration Department is following up on the matter and has contacted relatives of the person in question. Cheung also pointed out there is a misunderstanding concerning the territorial jurisdiction involved with the “separate locations” mode of clearance arrangement.
Matthew Cheung stated that the “separate locations” mode of clearance arrangement is a border-crossing arrangement, and according to the principle of territory, legal jurisdiction applies whether on water or within one’s own territory; therefore, it is perfectly justified for the Chinese to exercise their power of jurisdiction.
Cheung also pointed that setting up a mainland checkpoint on the bridge to Macau was temporary due to Xi Jinping’s visit, which is only for a few days. The authorities have said that this was a temporary arrangement and would like everyone to not read too much into it, as he believes that it is an extraordinary measure for a short-term, extraordinary period.
A journalist enquired as to whether or not there is a danger of being arrested whilst one is on the bridge on their way to China. Matthew Cheung reiterated that the “separate locations” mode of clearance and the principle of territory are two separate matters; believing that the Security Bureau will explain the details at a suitable, later date.
Another reporter enquired about how a fellow journalist on their way to Macau was stopped by Chinese authorities and forced to return to Hong Kong, despite having already prepared the necessary documents beforehand, asking if such action has undermined the freedom of the press. The reporter also asked whether the government will consider urging Hong Kongers who had made sensitive statements and those participated in anti-extradition protests not to go to Macau via the Bridge on the grounds of their safety. Cheung in response said that he cannot comment on operational matters on the part of the Macau authorities but that, should anyone feels in need of assistance, Hong Kong authorities will follow up on their issue.
(Image screen captured from RTHK livecast)