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Covert surveillance allowed in China law

UPI | August 7 2006

Pro-Beijing lawmakers in Hong Kong have approved legislation granting authority to police to conduct covert surveillance.

Such surveillance includes wiretapping phones, bugging offices and residences and monitoring e-mail, The New York Times reported.

The bill passed on a vote of 32-0 in the 60-member Legislative Council.

The Democratic party and other opponents of the bill had reportedly tried to introduce close to 200 amendments in four days of debates, many of them citing the issue of personal privacy. However, all were defeated or ruled out, the Times said.

"I wish to assure the residents of Hong Kong that the law now is a good balance between effective law enforcement on the one hand and the protection of privacy on the other," said Ambrose S.K. Lee, the secretary for security. Lee said the bill was necessary to fight crime.


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