2 H.K. J. Legal Stud. 1 (2008)

handle is hein.journals/hkjls2 and id is 1 raw text is: Through the Public Interest Lens
An Evaluation of Surveillance Law in Hong Kong
Silvia Sze-wai Yuen
The author systematically dissects the legislative framework governing
covert surveillance by law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong. She attacks
the stance that individual rights and public interest are competing polar
opposites. It is argued that public security does not per se take over the right
to privacy. The author lays down the development of the surveillance law
and proceeds with a critique of the regime. The conclusion reinforces the
potential threat that covert surveillance poses.
What man art thou that this bescreen'd in night
So stumblest on my counsel?'
Introduction
Background
The image of the all-seeing telescreens in George Orwell's Nineteen
Eighty-Four haunted us with dire relevance when the District Court remarked
on the want of legislative basis for covert surveillance by law enforcement
agencies in Hong Kong.2 In HKSAR v Li Man Tak and Others3 and
Secretary for Justice v Shum Chiu and Others4, the District Court ruled that
the secret recording of communications by the Independent Commission
Against Corruption (ICAC) contravened the right to freedom and privacy of
communication under art 30 of the Basic Law. In Shum Chiu, it was also held
that the covert recording of the meeting between the accused and his
solicitors infringed the right to confidential legal advice under art 35 of the
Basic Law. These rulings took flight and landed in the headlines,5 thereby
setting in motion a series of events which brought covert surveillance under
the spotlight of public attention.
The author is greatly indebted to Ms Janice Brabyn, Lecturer, Department of Law, The
University of Hong Kong, for her inspiration and guidance throughout the process of writing
this dissertation.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, II.ii.52-53.
2  HKSAR v Li Man Tak and Others (2005) DC, DCCC 689/2004, 22 April 2005, Sweeney J;
Secretary for Justice v Shum Chiu and Others (2005) DC, DCCC 687/2004, 5 July 2005,
Deputy Judge Livesey. See also HKSAR v Mo Yuk Ping and Others (2005) DC, DCCC 367,
1334, 360/2004 and 636/2005 consolidated, 23 August 2005, Wright J. The accused applied
for a permanent stay of the proceedings based on the conduct by the ICAC in its obtaining
authority to intercept telephone communications, the interceptions themselves and the way
in which the ICAC dealt with the information gleaned from those interceptions.
3  HKSAR v Li Man Tak and Others (2005) DC, DCCC 689/2004, 22 April 2005, Sweeney J.
4  Secretary for Justice v Shum Chiu and Others (2005) DC, DCCC 687/2004, 5 July 2005,
Deputy Judge Livesey. Note Secretary of Justice v Shum Chiu and Others (2005) CFI,
HCAL 101/2005, 22 December 2005, Hartmann J. The ruling of Deputy Judge Livesey was
quashed as being wrong in law and the matter was remitted to the District Court.
'ICAC Ordered to Halt Bugging of Suspects, The Standard, 23 April 2005; ICAC Bugging
in Breach of the Basic Law, Rules Judge, The Standard, 23 April 2005; Judge Flays ICAC
over Secret Taping, South China Morning Post, 6 July 2005.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 2,700 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Access to this content requires a subscription. Please visit the following page to request a quote or trial:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?