Judiciary Year opening | Top judge claims courts have always interpreted Basic Law correctly

President of the Court of Final Appeal Sam Hou Fai

All three of the judicial levels in Macau have always respected and correctly interpreted the Basic Law, president of the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) Sam Hou Fai said yesterday at the opening ceremony of the new judicial year.
Sam was addressing cases related to the interpretation of the Macau Basic Law that have raised the number of cases in 2020/2021 to a total of 24 (+20%) compared to the previous judiciary year. The TUI president stated that “In these matters, the courts of the three instances of the Macau SAR have faithfully exercised the competence conferred by the Basic Law to interpret the provisions of this Law in the judgment of cases, having promoted, through interpretation and application of the precepts of the Constitution and the Basic Law.” He concluded that the courts have, “thus [ensured] the complete, correct and effective implementation of the ‘one country, two systems’ policy.”
Most of the cases referred to by Sam concerned either the banning of the annual June 4 vigil enforced by the authorities, or the disqualification of candidates during the Legislative Assembly elections: cases in which the TUI backed all the decisions taken by the government.
Crime among stranded
foreigners a concern
Sam also used his speech yesterday to call on the authorities to address growing concerns over the crime rate related to stranded foreigners in Macau.
“Attention should be paid to the problem of crimes committed by foreigners stranded in Macau. According to statistics, in the judicial year that has just ended, the number of criminal cases of illegal lodgings and illegal hiring has increased substantially. Among them, the number of illegal lodgings rose from 215 (in 2019/2020) to 385 in the previous year, with an increase of 79.07%, while the number of illegal hiring cases also growing by almost 18%,” Sam outlined. He added that crimes related to drug trafficking have also spiked, and that most of those charged with these crimes were stranded former foreigner workers “forced to stay in Macau because they were unable to obtain renewal of their employment contracts.”
In a veiled manner, Sam called on the government to address both the current border restrictions as well as the provisions of the Law on the Employment of Non-Resident Workers. His reasoning was that “most of these people cannot be granted permission to remain as a worker, so they cannot have a legal income, which causes a series of problems.”

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