HONG KONG, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Legislative Council (LegCo) of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Thursday finished the third reading of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) co-location bill.
After the bill has been given three readings, it becomes a piece of enacted law. The bill would take effect after it is signed by the chief executive of HKSAR and promulgated in the Gazette of HKSAR government.
The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Co-location) Ordinance will be gazetted on June 22.
When the bill comes into effect, the co-location arrangement will be implemented at the West Kowloon Station of HKSAR, which allows passengers go through the customs, immigration and quarantine procedures of both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland successively in one place.
Carrie Lam, chief executive of HKSAR, welcomed the passage of the XRL co-location bill by the Legislative Council, saying it signifies a big step towards the target of the commissioning of the Hong Kong Section of XRL in September this year.
"The passage of the bill marks the basic completion of the three-step process of the co-location arrangement at the XRL West Kowloon Station. It provides a sound legal basis for the co-location arrangement, maximizing the transport, economic and social benefits of the XRL,"she said.
Chan Fan, Secretary for Transport and Housing of the HKSAR government, said the co-location arrangement that will be implemented in the new station is the only way to suit passengers' convenience.
In order to fully exploit the transport, social and economic benefits of the XRL and maximize convenience to passengers, the government of HKSAR in July, 2017 announced to implement the co-location arrangement at the cross-border railway station in West Kowloon Station.
To implement the co-location arrangement, the Chinese mainland and the HKSAR need to first reach a cooperation arrangement, which will be endorsed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. Following the congress endorsement, the HKSAR needs to implement it through the enactment of local legislation.
According to the law of HKSAR, three readings are required for getting through the local legislation.
Construction works of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL that started in 2010 are now roughly 99 percent completed.
The 26-km Hong Kong section of the XRL links up Hong Kong with the mega high-speed rail network of the Chinese mainland. The trial run of the Hong Kong Section of XRL has been held on April 1. The project is expected to commission in the third quarter of this year.