"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Basic Law: Article 85 - The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference."
There's an excellent reason Hong Kong people are concerned about the separation of powers. In a place with a democracy deficit, the 'separation of powers' at least ensures that 'check and balances' exist and that our judiciary remains independent. Carrie Lam, our Chief Executive, knows this very well or at least I thought she did.
Then this week we get a statement in which she contradicts herself. On the one hand, she says we have 'checks & balances', and then in the next utterance, she asserts we have no 'separation of powers'. Which is it? Am I missing something here?
Unfortunately, it is precisely these blunders that cause even her supporters — the few that remain — to despair. This mess comes on the back of what was turning out to be a fine week for Carrie. She'd seen off the ludicrous opposition to the Covid-19 testing scheme from a lunatic fringe of medical workers. Their attempts to sabotage this critical public health initiative failed.
For the sake of clarity, if we don't have 'separation of powers', then I'm afraid Hong Kong's much-trumpeted 'rule of law' is over. Simple as that. So either Carrie Lam doesn't understand the concept or something has changed because she frequently cites 'the rule of law' as our great strength.
Let's not forget that business people and ordinary citizens take much reassurance from this principle. They know disputes or criminal charges will face adjudication in an open, transparent manner without one party or another exercising undue influence. It's called justice.
After all, the Basic Law says this at Article 85 : "The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference. Members of the judiciary shall be immune from legal action in the performance of their judicial functions."
Unfortunately, Carrie has form for such blunders with a long list behind her. She'll usually refuse to admit she's said anything wrong. Then she'll clarify her position with a subtle statement down the line. Although, in fairness to her, she did recently admit on TV that she's unqualified for her job. Bless her!
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.