Legislating against people who insult public officials is not the Government’s highest priority, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said today.
Speaking ahead of this morning’s Executive Council meeting, Mrs Lam pointed out that the consideration for such a law is not at a mature stage.
However, she noted it is the aspiration of many frontline officers to have the legislation implemented.
“Many of my frontline officers - it's not just police officers but many public officers in the frontline - in recent years they have been intimidated, threatened and insulted when carrying out their duties and this is no good for a civic society. So there have been suggestions in the Legislative Council that the Government should seriously look into enacting a piece of legislation to prohibit or to control that sort of behaviour.
“But as I said, we have a lot of competing demands on our plate, so to speak. I have already outlined earlier this month that there are five important areas that the Government needs to legislate within the current term of the Legislative Council, which is about a few months. So I would say that this is not one of the pieces of legislation that has been put at the very high priority.”
The Government would strike the right balance if it proposes the law, Mrs Lam added.
“One day if we were to legislate, I think we would be very careful in striking the needed balance. Yes, the Basic Law protects and upholds rights of individuals, including freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, but as many court cases have made very clear, these rights and freedoms are not without limitations. So when they undermine another person’s rights, then of course something needs to be done.”