A lot more to be done on national security: CE

The chief executive said on Wednesday there’s still a lot of work to be done to protect national security, but Carrie Lam didn’t offer concrete timetables as to when local laws on national security and cyber security, including a ban on fake news, would be completed.

Lam said in her policy address that Secretary for Security Chris Tang will “proactively” move forward the work on Article 23 national security legislation.

“[Tang] is drawing up effective and pragmatic proposals and provisions, and formulating effective publicity programmes to prevent those who are opposed to China and attempt to destabilise Hong Kong from taking advantage of the situation to mislead the public with ill intentions,” she said.

Lam also said Chief Secretary John Lee will co-ordinate work on combating fake news and safeguarding cyber security.

The CE added there would be stronger regulation, supervision, public communication and guidance measures for schools, the media, the internet and social organisations.

She said officials will “review or revive” existing laws to ensure they have them readily available for strict enforcement, in a bid to safeguard national security. One example she cited is the film censorship bill that’s now being vetted by lawmakers.

Lam added that fair trials and the due process are essential elements of the rule of law, and she’s asked officials to help the judiciary tackle the problem of courtroom shortage.

“An additional mega courtroom and supporting facilities will be set up at Wan Chai Tower to handle cases involving a large number of defendants before the commissioning of the new District Court building at the end of 2027,” the CE said, adding the works will start in the first half of next year.

She said the defunct Tsuen Wan Law Courts Building will be re-opened, and other facilities are currently being converted.