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Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung concluded his visit to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area today by calling on public security and emergency management units in Huizhou. Mr Tang called on the Vice Mayor of Huizhou & Director-General of Huizhou Municipal Public Security Bureau Chen Haibo to exchange views on issues such as facilitating the flow of talent, emergency management as well as fire services and rescue. Mr Tang expressed his gratitude to the Huizhou Municipal Public Security Bureau for maintaining close ties and co-operation with Hong Kong's Security Bureau and its disciplined services. He introduced the new Greater Bay Area Emergency Response Operational Plan formulated by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government for enhancing the capability of bay area cities in handling incidents together to Mr Chen and deputy head of Huizhou Municipal Emergency Management Bureau Li Zhengcheng who was also in attendance. During his stay in Dongguan and Huizhou, Mr Tang also inspected Huawei's terminal headquarters in Songshan Lake of Dongguan and the TCL Technology Group Corporation's headquarters in Huizhou to learn about the cutting-edge technology and equipment of the two leading high-technology enterprises. He also learnt about the technical knowledge related to law enforcement and emergency management of the disciplined forces to explore the enhancement of service and law enforcement capabilities with innovation and technology. As he wrapped up his two-day visit to Guangzhou, Dongguan and Huizhou, Mr Tang returned to Hong Kong this evening.
The Immigration Department announced today that it will adjust application procedures for entry of visa/entry permits for dependents, foreign domestic helpers, imported workers, students, or those who wish to enter Hong Kong for training or a working holiday as from June 19. Applicants under these categories have to declare whether they have any criminal convictions when they apply for entry visa/entry permits. As a transitional arrangement, the department will continue to process applications that reach it on or before June 18, regardless of whether a declaration on criminal convictions has been made. Application procedures for extension of stay will not be included in this adjustment, the department said. It added that foreign domestic helpers currently working in Hong Kong applying for contract renewal with the same employer or for completing the remaining/extended period of the current contract with the same employer and for change of employer in Hong Kong will not be included in this adjustment either.
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today visited public security and emergency management units in Guangzhou and Dongguan, and toured a Guangzhou innovation and technology enterprise. Arriving in Guangzhou this morning, Mr Tang called on Guangdong Department of Emergency Management Director Wang Zaihua and introduced him to the new Greater Bay Area Emergency Response Operational Plan formulated by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The plan aims to establish a more comprehensive, pragmatic and systematic emergency response mechanism to further enhance the capability of the bay area cities in handling incidents together. The security chief thanked Mr Wang and Guangdong Fire & Rescue Corps Deputy Head Luo Yunqing who was also in attendance, for supporting the Hong Kong SAR Government, enabling comprehensive co-operation and teamwork in emergency management. Mr Tang hopes that with the Guangdong Department of Emergency Management’s co-ordination, the bay area cities will study the operational plan and hold joint working meetings to take it forward. He then called on Guangzhou Vice Mayor & Public Security Bureau Director-General Zhang Rui as well as Dongguan Vice Mayor & Public Security Bureau Director-General Qiao Lei. They discussed strengthening emergency management and co-operation, promoting talent flow and combatting cross-boundary crimes. Mr Tang also toured the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation in Guangzhou to learn about its innovation and technology on electronic information. The corporation also specialises in advanced equipment and technologies related to law enforcement and emergency response.
The Government will introduce the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 2023 into the Legislative Council on May 31. The bill seeks to provide for statutory appeal procedures for the prosecution to appeal against rulings of no case to answer (no-case rulings) made by the Court of First Instance (CFI) in criminal trials with a jury. It also seeks to appeal by way of case stated against a verdict or order of acquittal given by the CFI constituted by a panel of three judges to try a case concerning offences endangering national security without a jury under Article 46 of the National Security Law. The Department of Justice noted that the proposed new statutory appeal mechanisms are necessary, legitimate and timely responses to address lacunae in the criminal appeal system due to the prosecution's inability to appeal against any no-case rulings and acquittals by professional CFI judges that are erroneous, so as to prevent possible miscarriage of justice. The legislative amendments, being procedural in nature, will apply to rulings, verdicts or orders given after the legislative amendments come into operation, the department said, adding that the bill will neither undermine a defendant's right to a fair trial nor contravene the principle against double jeopardy. The bill will be gazetted on May 25.
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung will lead a delegation to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area tomorrow for a two-day visit. The delegation will visit Guangzhou, Dongguan and Huizhou to call on the Guangdong Department of Emergency Management as well as the three cities’ public security bureaus and emergency management bureaus. They will also tour local innovation and technology enterprises. The delegation comprises Permanent Secretary for Security Patrick Li, and Police and Fire Services Department representatives. Mr Tang will return to Hong Kong on May 25. During his absence, Under Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk will be Acting Secretary.
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung explained that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will explore the use of a new “collaborative inspection and joint clearance” mode in planning the redevelopment of the Sha Tau Kok Port and the development of new boundary control points, with a view to facilitating passenger clearance and enhancing clearance efficiency. His explanation was in response to questions posed by a Legislative Council member today. Mr Tang said: “‘Collaborative inspection and joint clearance’ is a new clearance mode and its concept is similar to the ‘joint boundary control system’ proposed by the community. Automatic channels/counters for both outbound and inbound visitors will be set up side by side at the boundary inside a port, such that visitors only need to queue up and have their documents inspected once to pass through the immigration facilities of both sides and complete the respective immigration procedures.” He also pointed out that the Shenzhen and Hong Kong SAR governments have agreed to adopt the “co-location arrangement” at the Huanggang Port, which is currently under redevelopment, and are actively exploring the implementation of “collaborative inspection and joint clearance” there. As regards whether there are plans to implement a similar arrangement at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), Mr Tang noted that such plans must carefully be considered, given that the airport’s status as an international aviation hub connecting different destinations involves different legal and implementation issues and overall benefits. The Hong Kong SAR Government and Airport Authority Hong Kong will expand the “Fly-Via-Zhuhai-HK” passenger transfer service to include Mainland cities to which Hong Kong does not have direct flights, thereby integrating the international aviation network of HKIA with Zhuhai Airport’s domestic aviation network, with a view to enhancing Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub, he added.
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) The number of crimes reported in the first quarter of 2023 was 20,584 cases, representing a year-on year increase of 48.4%, while the overall detection rate was 28.3%, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung announced today. Meeting the media after the Fight Crime Committee meeting this afternoon, the security chief outlined the reasons behind what caused the crime rate to climb. He noted that 8,886 deception cases were logged during the quarter, which accounts for over 40% of the total number of crimes. This figure represents a 65% increase compared with the same period last year. Mr Tang pointed out that the increase in the crime rate is also associated with the COVID-19 epidemic, particularly when strict social distancing measures came to an end. “For the first three months of last year when the COVID-19 epidemic was at its highest, there were stringent social distancing measures in place and there were not many people on the streets. So that is the reason why cases like robbery, burglary and theft - that normally happen in the streets - the number had been significantly reduced in the first three months of last year. “Discounting the deception cases, the crime situation of the first quarter of this year is more or less the same as what it was in 2019, ie before the COVID-19 situation.”
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly condemned and firmly rejected the so-called “staff research report” recently published by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the so-called “hearing” on the situation of Hong Kong, which again made slandering remarks and despicable threats against Hong Kong judges. The Hong Kong SAR Government said that it is most despicable for the so-called “staff research report” to name judges of the Hong Kong SAR specifically with a threat of imposing so-called “sanctions” on them. It described the threat as a shameless, sinister and malicious attempt to put spiteful pressure on the judges, to interfere with the judicial process and to undermine the system for the administration of justice in the Hong Kong SAR. “This attempt has clearly exposed the hypocrisy and double standard of the US politicians concerned, who claim to uphold the rule of law but have, in practice, seriously damaged it with political manipulation put above the law. It is a serious violation of the basic principle of international law and international relations. “Since the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) in June 2020, US politicians have been repeatedly exploiting different incidents and occasions, as well as creating excuses, to attack the Hong Kong SAR in its dutiful, faithful and lawful implementation of the NSL. “The politically motivated attempts by US politicians to undermine Hong Kong SAR's due administration of justice by repeating a lie as if it were a truth simply reflects their ill intent and amounts to nothing more than an indecent act. Such attempts will only expose the politicians' own weaknesses and faulty arguments and be doomed to fail.” The Hong Kong SAR Government also condemned the yet another attempt by Sebastien Lai to solicit foreign political powers to procure a defendant's evasion of the criminal justice process. It said it is equally outrageous that Kevin Yam, a solicitor of the High Court of Hong Kong, saw it fit to join this political farce to slander, and support the so-called “sanctions” against, the very court of which he is an officer. It stated that in the Hong Kong SAR, the only criterion upon which judges are appointed is their judicial and professional quality, and their appointment by the Chief Executive under the Basic Law is upon the recommendation of an independent statutory commission comprising representatives of the Judiciary, the legal profession and distinguished figures of the community. The Hong Kong SAR Government explained that under the NSL, the Chief Executive establishes a list or panel of judges for dealing with national security cases. When adjudicating cases, regardless of whether the cases concern national security or otherwise, judges remain independent and impartial in performing their judicial duties, free from any interference. The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that the arrangement on the designation of judges under the NSL does not undermine the impartiality of judges or the exercise of the independent judicial power by the Hong Kong SAR courts in adjudicating cases. It added that when considering whether to issue a certificate under the NSL for a case to be tried without a jury, the Secretary for Justice would take into account the relevant provisions of the NSL and the individual circumstances of each case. “It is well-established that trial by jury is not an indispensable element of a fair trial in the determination of a criminal charge. The purpose of the relevant provisions that stipulate the arrangement for a case to be tried by a panel of three judges is precisely to ensure a fair trial and the due administration of justice. “Where three designated judges sit without a jury to hear a national security case, their verdict is given in a fully reasoned judgment which is published online for public scrutiny. “As guaranteed by the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, defendants charged with criminal offences, including those under the NSL, shall have the right to a fair trial by the Judiciary exercising judicial power independently.” While the NSL has put in place a stringent threshold for the grant of bail for national security cases, the law does not violate the presumption of innocence, the Hong Kong SAR Government pointed out. As a matter of fact, a number of defendants charged with offences endangering national security have been released on bail after the courts have duly considered the requirements stipulated in the NSL and relevant local laws. The Hong Kong SAR Government emphasised that it will fully support and take whatever steps as may be necessary to ensure that all judges and judicial officers will be able to continue to discharge their duties without worry or fear about such threats. Separately, in response to media enquiries about the report, the Judiciary said it strongly condemns any attempt to exert improper pressure on judges and judicial officers (JJOs), including designated judges under the NSL. It noted that any such attempt is a flagrant and direct affront to the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong, as well as the JJOs, which is totally unacceptable.
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung visited the Futian Control Point and the Lo Wu Control Point in Shenzhen today and attended a seminar. While Mr Tang was visiting both control points to learn about their operation after the full resumption of cross-boundary travel, he was briefed on their management, infrastructure and development plans. Additionally, Mr Tang took part in a seminar held by the Office of Port of Entry & Exit of the Shenzhen Municipal Government to keep up to date about the overall planning of Shenzhen ports. He also exchanged views with the Shenzhen side on the planning and development of various land boundary control points to explore ways to boost co-ordination between the two sides to implement initiatives on control point enhancements. Mr Tang said that the visits were comprehensive, enhancing exchanges between personnel from both sides and enabling him to observe the smooth operation of the control points after the resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland. He added that the Security Bureau will work closely with Shenzhen through the task force for collaboration on planning and development of Hong Kong-Shenzhen control points co-chaired by both sides to take forward the planning and development of land boundary control points.
Police today reiterated that an earlier search by its National Security Department was conducted with a court warrant. It made the statement in response to media enquiries about the earlier search and seizure of an exhibit related to an incitement to subversion case under the National Security Law. Police explained that it is legal, reasonable and rational to collect evidence following the investigation progress in order to take forward the relevant case, like any other case. Police emphasised that the Government all along carries out its duties and obligations to safeguard national security in accordance with the law, and the handling of this case is no exception. The Government will continue to handle the exhibit, including the arrangement after the judicial proceedings, in accordance with the law, it added.