HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader John Lee said the central government in Beijing was “highly concerned” about the issue of foreign lawyers appearing in national security cases, with a landmark legal interpretation on the matter by Beijing expected soon.
Lee on Monday asked Beijing’s legislative body to rule on a Hong Kong request to block foreign lawyers from working on national security cases, after the city’s top court ruled that a British lawyer could represent jailed pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai.
Lee told a press conference yesterday that he expected China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee to make a ruling on the matter “as soon as possible”.
Lee said Hong Kong authorities are seeking a delay to the start of the trial that is set for tomorrow.
Hong Kong’s Department of Justice has repeatedly tried and failed to prevent British barrister Timothy Owen from representing Lai, one of the most prominent Hong Kong critics of China’s Communist Party leadership, in a landmark national security case.
Hong Kong’s highest court, the Court of Final Appeal, on Monday dismissed a government bid to block Owen from the trial and impose a “blanket ban” on foreign lawyers working on national security cases. — Reuters