Future CEs should not amend bribery laws: Carrie Lam

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Thursday that Hong Kong’s bribery laws should never cover the city’s leader, adding that her successors shouldn’t amend the laws either as this would undermine the chief executive’s constitutional responsibility.

Lam had promised during her election campaign in 2017 that she would amend sections 3 and 8 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance to cover the chief executive.

But when asked about the issue by non-establishment lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai at a Legislative Council question-and-answer session, Lam made it clear that she will not fulfil her promise.

Lam said the chief executive was above the judiciary, the executive and the legislature, while being accountable to the central government as well as the SAR government.

She said that in the past 20 years, Legco has sought to pass bills that would undermine the position of the chief executive.

“I haven’t done so. I’m not going to do so. I think this should not be done by future chief executives,” she said.

The chief executive’s comments were much stronger than what she had said in December, when she suggested the matter could be looked at after her term of office.

Speaking to reporters ahead of an Executive Council meeting on December 1, Lam said she did not intend on amending the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance within her term.

She acknowledged that an independent review committee had in 2012 recommended sections 3 and 8 be amended, but said making such a change was very complicated and could make it difficult for the chief executive to discharge their duties.

“If there are other brighter ideas on how we could do this without violating the constitutional position of the chief executive, then of course, in a future administration, they can always look at the issue again,” she said at the time.