Hong Kong Lawmakers Introduce a Bill to Regulate the Management of Public Records

    Jun 13, 2017

    Destroying public records or archives in Hong Kong without authorization could result in large fines and jail time, if a bill proposed this month is passed, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

    The bill, unveiled by three pan-democratic lawmakers, would call for maximum fines of HK$200,000 and three years in jail for such offenses. It is expected to be debated in October.

    “We have waited too long ... so we must have action to exert pressure on the government and demonstrate how to draft the bill,” said pan-democrat lawmaker Charles Mok.

    The sub-committee has been working on the issue since 2013.

    “The legislative intent is to help the government enhance governance and improve the basis of accountability,” former government records service director Simon Chu Fook-keung said, adding that it was an international standard to keep records of all government decisions for public monitoring.

    Chu worked with other members of the Archives Action Group and lawmakers on the bill, which has been submitted to the Department of Justice for consideration.

    The bill establishes a statutory records management structure and appoints an archives and records council to give advice on the work and to make recommendations to the chief executive on the appointment of a government archivist.

    To give the statutory body enough power, the bill includes sanctions for failure to create or manage records, for their unauthorized destruction, and for any denial of public access.

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