China could set up HK intelligence agency under security law, says former leader

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BEIJING (May 23): China's new national security law may be used to establish a domestic intelligence agency in Hong Kong similar to the colonial-era Special Branch, the territory's former leader Leung Chun-ying said today.

China's Parliament, the National People's Congress, announced on Thursday a draft decision on "establishing and improving a legal system and enforcement mechanism for Hong Kong to safeguard national security".

In an interview with Reuters, Leung referred to the British colonial era Special Branch, which was dismantled before the territory was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997.

"Singapore has a special branch. We don't. America has all kinds of law enforcement agencies that are tasked with dealing with national security threats. We don't. So it's not surprising that as part of the efforts to fill the national security legal gap, we need to have a body," he said.