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Hearing arrangements to be reviewed

Chief Justice Andrew Cheung has instructed that the Judiciary should immediately review the overall arrangements of handling cases involving a large number of litigants and observers at all levels of courts.   The Judiciary made the statement today in response to enquiries on the arrangements for the hearing of a case involving 47 defendants at the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts, emphasising that the review is subject to the safeguarding of the due administration of justice.        The statement pointed out that the courts must adjudicate cases in accordance with the law and court procedures, adding that the courts have always sought to complete the hearing of each case as soon as practicable to ensure efficient administration of justice.   Regarding the case in question, the Judiciary explained that all 47 defendants must be heard before the same magistrate according to court procedures as they were charged with the same offence under the same case.   The case was first

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Police probes strictly follow law

The Security Bureau today said that to crack down on illegal activities, Police have to conduct investigations according to the law and where necessary, collect evidence and request information from relevant organisations.   In a statement, it noted that some people made biased remarks to mislead the public by saying that collection of evidence could only be conducted legally with the consent of suspects concerned, attempting to create an illusion of injustice on the part of Police.   Moreover, some foreign politicians exerted pressure on institutions which have been fulfilling their obligations.   The bureau seriously condemns these misleading remarks and political manipulation.   It emphasised Police conduct their operations and investigations strictly according to the relevant laws and regulations.   Under prevailing legislation, Police have statutory duties to take lawful measures for preventing and detecting crimes and illegal acts.   The law also provides Police the legal power to make application to the magistrate for a warrant to collect evidence.   In their investigation of a case, Police will make a request for information related to a crime investigation from relevant people or organisations if necessary. This is the statutory duty of Police and must be performed in accordance with the law.   On the other hand, while local financial institutions have been complying with the laws of Hong Kong and fulfilling their responsibilities regarding the handling of funds from suspected money laundering activities in accordance with the law, some foreign politicians attempted to exert pressure on them.   The bureau pointed out that the acts by such politicians disregarded the rule of law and were purely politically motivated.   On anti-money laundering, the intergovernmental organisation Financial Action Task Force requires competent authorities to be able to obtain all relevant documents and information for money laundering investigations, prosecutions, and related actions, including to require financial institutions to produce customer records to the competent authorities.   The bureau noted the laws of Hong Kong comply with the relevant requirements, adding that Hong Kong is a society that upholds the rule of law, and law enforcement agencies are duty-bound to take action against all unlawful acts.   The Government affirms and supports the financial institutions' rightful fulfilment of their legal obligations in assisting in police investigations, it added.
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