Two new agreements between the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea – regarding cooperation on certain legal matters – create a mechanism to ensure that the judicial systems in the respective places can exercise effectively their roles should they encounter relevant issues.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday (23 October), the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Ms Chan Hoi Fan, noted such a mechanism would be helpful, particularly as the two places were close geographically and in terms of culture and economic matters, as well as partaking in frequent trade exchanges.
Ms Chan made the comments following the signing of an Agreement on the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders and an Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
The two agreements were signed by Secretary Chan and the Consul-General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong, Mr Kim Weon-jin, during a ceremony held at the Government Headquarters in Macao.
The agreements become effective on the 30th day subsequent to the time each side has provided to the other, notification of the completion of necessary internal procedures.
The surrender of fugitive offenders has been an effective means of combatting crime by preventing criminals from escaping legal responsibilities.
The Agreement on the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders, signed with the Republic of Korea, seeks to reinforce bilateral effort on the transfer of sentenced persons, with a view to dispensation of justice and the safeguarding of security and of social stability.
The Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed with the Republic of Korea, aims to widen the scope of the exchange of services between the two jurisdictions. It includes such matters as transfer of judicial documents; sharing of investigation findings and evidence; search for and seizure of objects and documents; and confiscation of the tools and proceeds of crime.
Under the Basic Law of Macao, with the assistance and authorisation of the Central People’s Government, the SAR may make appropriate arrangements with foreign states for reciprocal assistance in certain legal matters.
The SAR Government has stepped up effort to initiate work relating to legal assistance with other jurisdictions, especially cooperation with countries and places covered by the “Belt and Road” initiative, and Portuguese-speaking countries.
The latest agreements with the Republic of Korea were examples of the Government’s effort in regard to legal cooperation. They followed an agreement – signed in June – on mutual assistance between the Macao SAR and Mongolia in matters of criminal law.