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Police arrested 6,400 people and seized cash, dangerous drugs and illicit goods amounting to $410 million during an anti-crime joint operation with their Guangdong and Macau counterparts. Codenamed “THUNDERBOLT 2023”, the tripartite operation was conducted from June 12 to September 21. During the operation, Hong Kong Police conducted searches with various departments at about 3,100 locations, neutralising gambling dens, vice establishments, unlicensed bars and loan-sharks companies. A total of 6,400 people, aged between 10 and 85, were arrested for triad-related or organised offences, from wounding and blackmail to trafficking in dangerous drugs and money laundering. Among the arrestees, 849 were Mainlanders and 471 were non-ethnic Chinese. Hong Kong Police also seized $12 million in cash suspected to be crime proceeds as well as dangerous drugs worth more than $350 million. The intelligence-led enforcement operation was aimed at combating illegal activities of triad societies and organised crime syndicates, neutralising cross-boundary crimes, and interdicting the criminals’ sources of income.
The annual review of the Security Bureau Youth Uniformed Group Leaders Forum was held today, with Acting Chief Executive Chan Kwok-ki giving a speech. Mr Chan reported that the forum had organised nearly 20 activities over the past year, including courses and training camps run by the bureau’s disciplined services and auxiliary services, and seminars on the country’s Constitution, the Basic Law and the Hong Kong National Security Law. It also organised visits to Beijing, Shaanxi and Greater Bay Area cities, allowing participants to learn more about national affairs and broaden their horizons. He said he was pleased to note that the bureau plans to strengthen co-operation between the Leaders Forum and Shenzhen University to enhance exchanges between youths in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, deepening their understanding of the development opportunities in the bay area and increasing Hong Kong’s integration into national development. Noting that members had undergone significant growth thanks to the year-long learning programme, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung said one of the participants had been recommended as a candidate to represent Hong Kong at the Youth Forum 2024 of the UN Office on Drugs & Crime. He reported that another member has received an internship at a leading Mainland innovation and technology enterprise, while some others have joined the disciplined services. Mr Tang said he hopes forum members will continue to take leadership roles regardless of the positions they hold, thereby making contributions to the country and Hong Kong.
The Sai Kung District Office (SKDO) today reported that a contractor involved in delivering a youth training event has forfeited data relating to 50 event participants and that the incident has been reported to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and to Police. The event, organised by the SKDO, is the 2023-24 Sai Kung Youth Ambassador Training Programme - Sai Kung Navigators, while the contractor is the Sai Kung District Community Centre. The centre reported to the SKDO yesterday afternoon that one of its members of staff had lost a portable USB device at a library at City University on September 10. The device contains personal details relating to 50 event participants, specifically their names, ages, genders, contact numbers, email addresses and residential addresses, as well as the schools/institutions they attend and the names and contact numbers of their guardians. The SKDO was informed that the centre reported the incident to Police on September 12 and to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data on September 18. The SKDO said it was also in the process of contacting participants affected, and their families, to explain the situation and offer apologies. The training programme itself has been suspended, while a hotline number, 6278 0536, is in operation for enquiries. The SKDO has issued a severe reprimand to the event contractor and requested it to submit a detailed report and take all necessary measures to prevent further leakage of data. The contractor is prohibited from bidding for or organising any other SKDO activities until it has taken satisfactory measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
Police today launched a campaign, in collaboration with partners including the Commission on Children, to raise public awareness of child protection. Addressing the opening ceremony for “Let's T.A.L.K. - Child Protection Campaign 2023”, Acting Commissioner of Police Chow Yat-ming highlighted that 716 cases of child abuse were reported in the first eight months of this year, an increase of nearly 30% compared with the same period last year. He explained that the use of corporal punishment by parents when disciplining their children is a significant contributing factor, adding that such cases have seen a rise following the full resumption of classes after the pandemic. The collective efforts of Police, government departments and non-governmental organisations to raise awareness about child protection in the community have also contributed to increased reporting of cases, he added. The acting police chief also stressed that some child abuse cases are associated with online activities. In these cases, abusers have been found to establish contact with children through online platforms such as social media, dating apps and online games. Noting that child protection work requires continuous and concerted effort by all sectors of the community, Mr Chow said online dangers are a major focus of this year’s campaign. Activities include an interactive metaverse exhibition that enables participants to reflect on and visualise various aspects of child protection. A seminar will also be conducted on the theme of protecting children against cyber abuse. Click here for more information.
The Immigration Department estimates that around 6.55 million residents and visitors will pass through Hong Kong's boundary control points during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday from September 29 to October 6. Among them, 5.43 million passengers will pass through land boundary control points. The number of outbound and inbound passengers using land boundary control points will be relatively higher on September 30 and October 2, standing at 492,000 and 538,000 respectively. The passenger traffic at Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, Lo Wu and Shenzhen Bay control points will be heavy, with a daily average of 164,000, 162,000 and 103,000 passengers. The department, Police, Customs and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation will set up a joint command centre to make necessary arrangements.
The Immigration Department (ImmD) today reminded citizens to remain vigilant when receiving suspicious calls from people claiming to be immigration officers and to take the initiative to verify their identities. The department made the appeal after it has come to their attention that fraudsters have recently impersonated immigration officers to make calls to members of the public. During the conversation, the fraudsters added credibility to their scams by offering the names, titles, contact numbers and office addresses of serving immigration officers for identity and verification.While saying that its staff will call people to process their applications with the department on an individual basis, the department reminds citizens, when receiving suspicious calls, to refrain from believing the callers hastily or disclosing personal information arbitrarily. In addition, the department reminds the public that it will not make any pre-recorded voice calls to non-users of its appointment reminder service, nor will it transfer the calls to non-local authorities and request the call recipients to provide personal information. Citizens who are in doubt may contact the department by calling its enquiry hotline 2824 6111 or send an email, or call Police’s 24-hour “Anti-Scam Helpline 18222”. Anyone suspecting a phone scam should report it to Police immediately.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) Emergency Response Joint Meeting was held in Hong Kong today to review the achievements of the emergency response co-operation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. The meeting also advanced the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Emergency Management Co-operation & Greater Bay Emergency Response Operation Co-operation Framework Agreement, taking the trilateral emergency response collaboration to new heights. Department of Emergency Management of Guangdong Province Director Wang Zaihua, Macao Special Administrative Region Government Secretary for Security Wong Sio-chak and Guangdong Fire & Rescue Brigade Commander Zhang Mingcan attended the meeting, leading representatives of the emergency response units of the nine Mainland GBA cities and Macau. Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung said in the meeting that he hopes a more systematic emergency response operation mechanism would be established to enable the GBA cities to handle incidents together and explore ways to facilitate the flow of emergency response personnel, equipment and supplies during emergencies, enhancing the efficacy of cross-boundary rescue efforts. Having visited the emergency management units of Guangdong, Macau and GBA cities to introduce the vision of the Greater Bay Area Emergency Response Operational Plan between May and July, Mr Tang expressed hope that Guangdong and Macau's senior officials would come to Hong Kong to witness the signing of the framework agreement in the near future. Formulated by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the framework agreement will build a government-led and action-based emergency response co-operation mechanism supported by professional emergency response units, deepening the joint efforts by the three places to promote emergency management developments. After the joint session ended, Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki hosted a welcome dinner. He noted that the three places will strive to leverage their comprehensive advantages to promote the high-quality developments of a safe GBA and implement the spirit of putting people and their lives first to foster the continuous and stable development of society.
The Central People's Government, following Chief Executive John Lee’s nomination and recommendation, has approved the appointment of Deputy Director of Immigration Benson Kwok as Director of Immigration with effect from today. The removal of Au Ka-wang from the post also took effect today. Commenting on the new appointment, Mr Lee said: “Mr Kwok has served in the Immigration Department for 34 years and has extensive experience in departmental operations. “He possesses solid management and leadership skills. I am confident that he will lead the Immigration Department to meet the challenges ahead.” Mr Kwok joined the Immigration Department as an Assistant Immigration Officer in 1989. He was promoted to Chief Immigration Officer in 2009 and Principal Immigration Officer in 2016, before becoming Assistant Director of Immigration in 2020 and Deputy Director of Immigration last year. Mr Au began pre-retirement leave today, after serving the Immigration Department for 34 years. Mr Lee wished Mr Au a happy retirement and thanked him for his contribution to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The Chief Executive said: “Since taking up the appointment as Director of Immigration in July 2020, Mr Au has made admirable efforts in ensuring effective entry-exit control and smooth passenger clearance, leading the Immigration Department to become an immigration service that displays high efficiency and professionalism.”
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) Chief Executive John Lee stressed that the incident regarding JPEX reflects the necessity for a proper regulatory system for virtual assets trading and made it clear that the Government will do more to educate investors. Mr Lee made the statement ahead of today’s Executive Council meeting, saying that the incident highlighted the importance that investors must invest in virtual assets on platforms that are licensed and regulated by the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC). “The licensing regime that has been introduced is exactly for that purpose (and) that is to protect investors so that they can invest under (a) very effective regulatory system to ensure that their assets and their investments are protected (and) to ensure that there will be (a) good risk control system that ensures that the money they put into the investment will not be abused by the platform.” The Chief Executive emphasised that the SFC will monitor the situation very closely and ensure that investors are sufficiently protected. He added that investors should thoroughly understand the operation mode of virtual assets trading and know that platforms that are not regulated by the SFC are considered risky. “We will be doing more public education (on the risks of virtual assets trading) for investors to know about the risks.” Mr Lee said that he has instructed the SFC and Police to hold a media session to explain the JPEX case and what they are doing to protect investors.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan will tomorrow lead a delegation on a visit to Haikou, Hainan, to attend the first seminar organised on the island province by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s Department of Justice with the aim of promoting Hong Kong’s legal and dispute resolution services. The delegation of more than 30 people will comprise legal and dispute resolution professionals from the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Bar Association, as well as a Legislative Councillor. Mr Cheung and his delegation will attend the seminar, due to be held on the morning of September 21, to introduce Hainan’s commercial and legal sectors to Hong Kong's unique advantages under “one country, two systems”, which allows it to enjoy the strong support of the motherland while being closely connected to the world. They will also elaborate on the capacity of the city’s legal and dispute resolution services to expedite Hainan’s development as a globally significant free trade port. During the visit, Mr Cheung and his delegation will also meet Hainan Provincial Government officials and representatives from the local legal sector to enhance co-operation and collaboration between the two places. Mr Cheung and the delegation will conclude their visit and return to Hong Kong on the evening of September 21.