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One more Hong Kong resident who had sought help from the Immigration Department safely returned to the city, the Security Bureau said today. The assistance seeker in relation to employment fraud in Southeast Asian countries returned to Hong Kong from Myanmar via the Mainland today. The return was secured with the aid of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Chinese Embassy in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the relevant public security authority and the Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office of the People's Government of Yunnan Province, the bureau's dedicated task force and the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in Guangdong. So far, 22 assistance seekers have returned to Hong Kong under the task force's co-ordination. The bureau urged citizens to contact the Immigration Department as soon as possible if they know or have received information of victims in need of help. They may call the department's Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit 24-hour hotline at (852) 1868, phone the 1868 hotline by network data via the department's mobile app, send messages to the 1868 WhatsApp assistance hotline or submit an Online Assistance Request Form.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will send a delegation to attend the meetings of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 12. As part of the Chinese delegation, the Hong Kong SAR Government delegation will introduce to the committee the part of China’s ninth report under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that is related to the Hong Kong SAR. The Hong Kong SAR Government delegation will also answer the committee’s questions on the CEDAW’s implementation in the city. This is the fourth time the committee has examined a report submitted by the Hong Kong SAR under the CEDAW since 1999. The previous round of hearing was held in October 2014. The Hong Kong SAR Government noted that since the last hearing, the room for development for women in Hong Kong has been continuously expanding. “As always, we will resolutely and clearly explain to the international community the progress made in women’s development in Hong Kong, and strive to do our best in publicity work,” it said in a press release. The Hong Kong SAR Government also pointed out that while the CEDAW’s objective is to safeguard women’s rights, remove barriers and gender stereotypes against women and ensure women’s full development, it noticed that some non-governmental organisations (NGOs), many of which are not based in Hong Kong, have made submissions to the committee that are highly politically charged. Many of the statements in these submissions are based on false information and distorted narratives regardless of the truth, with flawed comments on the human rights situation in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong SAR Government delegation will make cogent clarification and stern rebuttals to any vilification at the hearing, it added. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong SAR Government also noted that it was aware of the untruthful biased commentary regarding the National Security Law’s implementation and the handling of the 2019 riots, presented at the informal meeting between the committee and NGOs yesterday in Geneva. Apart from strongly refuting such a commentary, the Hong Kong SAR Government also strongly condemned the vilification and smearing in respect of the so-called “gender-based violence” alleged to be committed by Police during the serious violence in 2019. Click here for the Hong Kong SAR’s fourth report under the CEDAW as well as the Hong Kong SAR Government’s written response to the committee’s List of Issues.
The Security Bureau today strongly condemned an organisation for making gravely unfounded allegations against a Police operation in collecting evidence and stressed that to collect evidence pertaining to the investigation is legal, reasonable and rational. It explained that the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force yesterday conducted searches with a warrant and seized an exhibit related to an incitement to subversion case under the National Security Law. The organisation concerned attempted to make misleading comments and request for the exhibit’s return under the guise of artistic freedom, and unreasonably condemned and maliciously smeared Police’s lawful enforcement actions, absolutely defying the law and disregarding the rule of law, the bureau said. It made it clear that Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are duty-bound to bring to justice people and entities acting in violation of the city’s laws, including the National Security Law, and that Police actions in question sought to uphold justice. All law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the people or entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation. It further pointed out that, regarding the case concerned involving the present evidence collection, the investigation has all along been ongoing and to collect evidence following the investigation progress in order to take forward the relevant case is legal, reasonable and rational. Article 4 of the National Security Law clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and that the rights and freedoms which Hong Kong residents enjoy under the Basic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, shall be protected in accordance with the law. Nonetheless, such rights and freedoms are not absolute, the bureau reiterated. The Hong Kong SAR Government carries out its duties and obligations to safeguard national security in accordance with the law. It safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests while protecting in accordance with the law the rights and freedoms that the city’s residents enjoy, the bureau emphasised. It added that the Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to handle the case concerned in accordance with the law and the organisation concerned should immediately stop making unfounded allegations.
Police's National Security Department conducted searches with a warrant this morning. An exhibit related to an incitement to subversion case was seized in Yuen Long.
The Department of Justice held the biennial "Mediate First" Pledge Event today to promote mediation culture by encouraging different sectors of the community to explore the use of mediation to resolve disputes. Delivering the opening remarks, Secretary for Justice Paul Lam said that mediation has made significant progress in the decade since the first pledge event in 2013, including the establishment of the International Organization for Mediation Preparatory Office earlier this year. The department will make its best efforts in the local, Mainland and international promotion of mediation culture to facilitate wider use of mediation to resolve conflicts in amicable and constructive ways with mutually acceptable settlements, he added. The forum comprised a session on the synergy of mediation in case settlement presented by judges and lawyers, with Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal Johnson Lam giving concluding remarks. A drama was also staged to explore the use of mediation to resolve different types of disputes in daily life, plus a panel discussion for legal practitioners and mediators to share their perspectives on resolving day-to-day interpersonal conflicts. The signing ceremony of the "Mediate First" Pledge and the Star Logo Award Presentation Ceremony were held after Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan delivered remarks to conclude the forum. Thirty-two pledgees were presented the awards in recognition of their achievements in promoting and adopting mediation in the course of their business operations. More than 800 organisations and individuals have signed the pledge since its launch in 2009. This year's event also included an information fair to facilitate better understanding of the mediation services provided by government departments and mediation organisations.
Multiple organisations have set up street booths in different areas across the city to promote the Government's proposals on improving governance at the district level and collect signatures from the public.  Chief Executive John Lee visited one of the street booths in Wan Chai this morning to show his support. He said the proposals enable the Government to plan and promote district services more effectively, which is beneficial to society. While visiting a street booth in Sheung Wan, Financial Secretary Paul Chan noted that the proposals allow the district governance structure to return to the principles stipulated in the Basic Law. At a street booth in Tsuen Wan, Deputy Chief Secretary Cheuk Wing-hing and Secretary for Home & Youth Affairs Alice Mak appealed to the public to fully support the new proposals. Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong was at a street booth in Causeway Bay with Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang. Mr Wong said the new proposals are worthy of support because they take into account different aspects such as safeguarding national security or fully implementing "patriots administering Hong Kong". Explaining the content of the proposals at a street booth in Wah Fu Estate, Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan said the residents are looking forward to the return of rationality in the new term of the District Councils, which would reflect their opinions on district management. Details of the proposals have been uploaded to the Home Affairs Department’s website. Members of the public can submit their views by May 16.
In view of the latest situation in Egypt, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today lowered the outbound travel alert for the country to amber and reminded Hong Kong residents to avoid all travel to the Sinai Peninsula. Hong Kong residents who plan to visit Egypt or are already there should monitor the situation, exercise caution, attend to their personal safety and avoid travelling to places with large gatherings of people. They should also pay attention to announcements by local authorities. In view of the situation there, Hong Kong residents are also advised to avoid all travel to the Sinai Peninsula.      The Security Bureau will closely monitor the situation and issue updates through the media, the bureau's mobile app and its website.      Those who need assistance can call the Immigration Department on (852) 1868 or the Chinese Embassy in Egypt on (20) 2-27363556. 
The Department of Justice and the Brunei Darussalam Supreme Court today signed a memorandum of co-operation to strengthen dispute avoidance and resolution between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Brunei Darussalam. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam and Brunei Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong Wan Oon signed the pact at the Hong Kong Legal Hub. The department said the agreement provides a framework for the Hong Kong SAR and Brunei Darussalam to enhance communication, collaboration and co-operation on issues relating to dispute avoidance and resolution, and to facilitate the development of related services.  It is expected that both places will benefit greatly from the enhanced co-operation under the memorandum. This is the fourth similar memorandum signed between Hong Kong and other jurisdictions that include Japan, Korea and Thailand.  The department stressed that such an arrangement will further promote Hong Kong’s status as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region. It added that it will continue to pursue and foster co-operation or partnership arrangements with other jurisdictions and international organisations.
Police announced today that entry requirements for recruit police constable, probationary inspector and auxiliary police constable will be adjusted starting May 5. The minimum height and weight requirements are to be removed to align with other disciplined services. The requirement of wearing corrective lenses to undergo an unaided visual acuity test will also be removed and applicants who pass the test while wearing spectacles or contact lenses will be deemed to have met the required eyesight standard. The requirement for colour perception test, on the other hand, will remain unchanged. The third adjustment is the introduction of the Recruit Police Constable Written Examination. The written examination, which contains General Chinese and General English tests, is benchmarked against Level 2 in Chinese Language & English Language in the Diploma of Secondary Education Examination. An applicant passing the written examination will be deemed to have met the Recruit Police Constable language proficiency requirements and the result is permanently valid. Police explained that the force has adopted proactive recruitment strategies to attract high-calibre candidates, adding that its recruitment policy will be regularly reviewed to maintain competitiveness in the human resources market.      Applications for police posts can be submitted online.
The Department of Justice will hold the “Mediate First” Pledge Event 2023 on May 5 to further promote the mediation culture. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam and his deputy Cheung Kwok-kwan will speak at the event. International Organization for Mediation Preparatory Office Director-General Sun Jin will also deliver a keynote speech, while judges, lawyers and mediators will share their insights. There will be an introduction on the use of a case settlement conference to create a synergy effect between the litigation and alternative dispute resolution process, and how everyday disputes can be resolved through mediation. A drama will also be presented and the Mediation Information Fair will be held this year for participants to get more information on mediation services, training courses and the accreditation mechanism for mediators. The “Mediate First” Pledge signing ceremony and a Star Logo Award presentation ceremony will be held right after the forum, aiming to encourage the pledgees to continue to fulfil their “Mediate First” pledge and proactively consider using mediation to resolve disputes. A total of 32 pledgees will be awarded the Star Logo this year.