Dear Consul Generals,
We are writing to you on behalf of the New Macau Association – the major pro-democracy political organisation in Macau – in regard to the export of intrusive surveillance products from European countries to the police authorities of the Macau Special Administrative Region.
In the documents released by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks on 08 July 2015, the Macau government’s engagement in talk with an Italian company over the acquisition of surveillance software capable of hacking into mobile phones has come into light.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedures of Macau, although an examining magistrate may authorise phone tapping on a case-by-case basis, the lack of transparency and the absence of independent oversight make such tools easily exploitable by the police authorities in violation of the privacy of journalists, activists and other dissidents. The software with capabilities exceeding the scope of lawful means of criminal investigation by no means has been lawfully used by the Macau government.
The Macau government is notoriously known for arbitrarily banning Hong Kong-based journalists, scholars and activists from visiting Macau. Journalists and activists in Macau have reported experience of police surveillance and custody in the course of the exercise of freedom of speech. Amongst the notable cases, the abuse of criminal proceedings by the police to arrest the organisers of, and to intimidate the participants in, an non-official poll known as the “Civil Referendum 2014” aiming to reflect public opinion on the support for universal suffrage and the confidence in the sole-candidate of the Chief Executive “Election” was widely reported by East Asian, European and American media outlets last year.
If the export of surveillance products with intrusive capabilities is subject to regulation or control in your country, we request that you inform the relevant authorities of your country of the possibility of abuse of such products by the police authorities of the Macau government. We encourage that your government, whenever permitted or required by law, takes extra precautions in rendering a decision on the approval of the sale of security / defence products by companies based in your country to the Macau government.
Sulu Ka Hou SOU
President, New Macau Association
Scott Ming Hin CHIANG
Vice-president, New Macau Association
Jason Teng Hei CHAO
Board member, New Macau Association