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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 5, 1997


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Hong Kong on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, with Annex, signed in Hong Kong on April 15, 1997 (hereinafter referred to as "the Agreement"). I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, a related exchange of letters, with attached forms, signed the same date, and the report of the Department of State with respect to the Agreement.

The Agreement is one of a series of modern mutual legal assistance treaties that the United States is negotiating in order to counter criminal activities more effectively. The Agreement should be an effective tool in our continued cooperation with Hong Kong after its reversion to the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997, to assist in the prosecution of a wide variety of modern criminals, including members of drug cartels, "white-collar" criminals, and terrorists. The Agreement is self-executing.

The Agreement provides for a broad range of cooperation in criminal matters. Mutual assistance available under the Agreement includes: (1) taking evidence, testimony, or statements of persons; (2) providing information, documents, records, and items; (3) locating or identifying persons or items; (4) serving documents; (5) transferring persons in custody and others to provide assistance; (6) executing requests for search and seizure; (7) confiscating and forfeiting the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime and otherwise assisting in relation thereto; (8) delivering property, including lending exhibits or other items; and (9) any other form of assistance not prohibited by the law of the Requested Party.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Agreement and give its advice and consent to ratification so that the Agreement can enter into force no later than July 1, 1997, when Hong Kong reverts to the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China.



May 5, 1997.

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