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Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today visited the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Site in Shenzhen. Mr Tang viewed its facilities including the main control rooms of Daya Bay and Ling Ao Nuclear Power Station Phase II, the site's emergency command centre as well as the nation's only refuelling pool for training personnel to change nuclear fuel, to stay up-to-date on the nuclear power station's design, operation and emergency management. During his visit, Mr Tang was briefed on the nuclear power site by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) and CLP Holdings personnel. They also discussed nuclear safety and national nuclear power development. Mr Tang noted that the country has maintained a good nuclear safety record for a long period of time, and ranks among the best in the world in the operation and construction of nuclear power stations without any accidents. However, since drawing up a sound contingency plan is a requirement of good emergency management, the Security Bureau has put in place a comprehensive Daya Bay Contingency Plan to set out appropriate urgent measures to be adopted immediately by departments in the unlikely event of a nuclear power station emergency that may affect Hong Kong, he added. A large-scale interdepartmental exercise based on the contingency plan is organised every three to five years. The latest one was held in January this year. Mr Tang thanked the CGNPC for sending personnel to Hong Kong to observe the exercise, enhance the exchanges between both sides and give valuable feedback on the exercise. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will continue to closely communicate with relevant local and national institutions to enhance the nuclear emergency preparedness, with a view to protecting the public.
Under the principle of “one country, two systems” guaranteed by the Basic Law, Hong Kong, as the only common law jurisdiction in China, has the unique advantage of enjoying strong support from the motherland and being closely connected to the world, acting as a super-connector for Mainland capital to “go global” and for channelling foreign investments into the Mainland. To maximise the advantages of the common law system that Hong Kong takes pride in, and leverage its strengths to meet the country’s needs, the Department of Justice has been actively developing legal mechanisms for mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters with the Mainland, with a view to building bridges for collaboration between the “two systems” and providing greater convenience and stronger legal protection for cross-boundary civil and commercial activities. After establishing the relevant mechanisms, we have not stopped in our tracks. We have been actively participating in and promoting professional exchanges between the Mainland and the Hong Kong legal sectors, so that we will remain “down-to-earth” and have a practical grasp of the implementation of the relevant mechanisms in both places, as well as the views and needs of the industry and other stakeholders. Our colleague from the Legal Enhancement & Development Office earlier participated in a roundtable meeting co-organised by the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Guangdong Lawyers Association, under the theme of “Experience Sharing on the Implementation of Mutual Legal Assistance between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Cross-boundary Dispute Resolution”. Together with around 70 outstanding young lawyers from both Guangdong and Hong Kong, they conducted in-depth discussions and shared experiences on matters relating to the various mutual legal assistance arrangements between the Mainland and Hong Kong on civil and commercial matters, including the issues relating to the implementation of those arrangements in Hong Kong and the Mainland. I am very pleased that the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Guangdong Lawyers Association have provided a valuable platform for the exchange of views on the actual operation of the relevant arrangements from the users’ perspective as well as on the room for further enhancement. For example, Hong Kong lawyers shared their experience on the interpretation of “choice of court agreement” by the Hong Kong court for the purpose of the Mainland Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance. Mainland lawyers shared their experience on the service of Hong Kong legal documents in the Mainland and suggested to explore the extension of the scope of mutual legal assistance with the Mainland to pre-litigation preservation or interim measures. We place great importance on these constructive comments and will carefully study them and take appropriate follow-up action. With the strong support of the central government, Hong Kong and the Mainland have so far concluded a total of nine arrangements on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters, covering procedural assistance, arbitration matters, and mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments relating to matrimonial and family cases, bankruptcy or winding-up proceedings and other civil and commercial matters. This highly targeted yet comprehensive mutual legal assistance regime is one of the key contributing factors to Hong Kong’s unique competitiveness in legal and dispute resolution services, giving Hong Kong an advantage that is unavailable to other jurisdictions. The department will spare no efforts in further consolidating and enhancing this edge. In terms of future work, we will strive to bring into operation as soon as possible the Mainland Judgments in Civil & Commercial Matters (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance, which was passed last year and will provide a more comprehensive regime for the mutual recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments between the two places. Meanwhile, we will continue to maintain close communication with the legal industry and other stakeholders, listen attentively to their requests and suggestions, promote and optimise the operation of the relevant arrangements, so as to ensure we are responding proactively to people’s needs, stimulating the development of legal and dispute resolution services, facilitating the interface between the legal systems of the Mainland and Hong Kong and enhancing the rule of law. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam wrote this article and posted it on his blog on April 19.
Chief Executive John Lee today reviewed the Fire Services passing-out parade for 13 station officers, 77 firemen and 53 ambulancemen or ambulancewomen at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy. Speaking at the parade, Mr Lee commended the Fire Services Department (FSD) personnel for their excellent training and equipment, and the active development of their specialised teams, which have been demonstrating exceptional rescue techniques and efficiency in disasters and incidents. The FSD's Urban Search & Rescue Team was deployed as part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region rescue team to quake-stricken areas in Türkiye in February, where they participated in the search and rescue operation with the China rescue team. Mr Lee pointed out that while it was the first time the team had participated in an overseas rescue mission, its members rescued four people who were trapped, showcasing to the international community their top-level emergency response capabilities. The department and its Mainland counterparts have been maintaining close ties, and the FSD immediately arranged visits to the Mainland after the full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland, he added. Some graduates at today’s ceremony included the first batch of trainees to attend the National Studies Course at the Guangdong Fire & Rescue Brigade. The course will also form part of the foundation training for Fire & Ambulance trainees. Later this year, the FSD will also deploy various specialised teams to cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area for technical exchanges, in addition to organising more courses and exchange sessions for its Mainland counterparts. Mr Lee encouraged the graduates to equip themselves well and learn more about their motherland, uphold the FSD's professionalism, pursue excellence and work together with all sectors of the community to contribute to the development and prosperity of Hong Kong and the country.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan visited Guangzhou and Shenzhen today to enhance legal co-operation. The Secretary for Justice established the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) Task Force in January. Chaired by the Deputy Secretary for Justice, the task force has held its first meeting, focusing on enhancing the convergence of legal practices in the GBA, advancing the practice of mutual legal assistance, and promoting the development of online dispute resolution and the application of lawtech in the GBA. Mr Cheung called on Guangdong’s Department of Justice and met its Director-General Chen Xudong in Guangzhou. At the meeting, further collaboration on legal and dispute resolutions in the GBA was explored to better the alignment and harmonisation of relevant mechanisms and practices, jointly capitalising on the bay area's unique strengths of "one country, two systems and three jurisdictions" to promote the building of the rule of law in the GBA. Mr Cheung then met Shenzhen Municipal Government Deputy Secretary-General Huang Qiang this afternoon. He also renewed the Co-operative Arrangement on Legal Matters for another five years after the meeting with the Shenzhen Municipal Government. The renewed arrangement will continue to strengthen co-operation on legal matters between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and provide a robust exchange platform for the two cities' government departments and the legal sectors. It will also support Hong Kong's position as an international centre for legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region as provided for under the National 14th Five-Year Plan. Mr Cheung then visited the Shenzhen Qianhai Cooperation Zone People's Court (Qianhai Court) and the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA). He exchanged views with Qianhai Court President Bian Fei and SCIA President Liu Xiaochun, on the development of and co-operation in dispute resolution related to Hong Kong, including the use of technology.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan will visit Guangzhou and Shenzhen tomorrow for his first visit to the Mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area since taking office, the Government announced today. Mr Cheung’s trip aims to further implement and take forward the work of the working group for Guangdong-Hong Kong co-operation on legal and dispute resolution services and the working group on Hong Kong-Shenzhen legal co-operation. He will call on the Guangdong Province Department of Justice, the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government, and the Authority of Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone of Shenzhen Municipality. While in Shenzhen, Mr Cheung will also renew the Co-operative Arrangement on Legal Matters between the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's Department of Justice. Mr Cheung will return to Hong Kong in the evening.
The Correctional Services Department (CSD) launched its official Instagram account today, further expanding its channels to enhance communication with the public, especially the younger generation. The newly launched CSD Instagram will, through innovative and diversified multimedia feeds, foster young people's positive values by promoting the department's work and its mission, as well as national security, national education and messages of leading a law-abiding and drug-free life and supporting offender rehabilitation. The public are welcome to view, follow and share the information of the CSD's official Instagram account through the QR code.
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today presented appointment certificates to the Security Bureau Youth Uniformed Group Leaders Forum Advisory Board. The advisers are Founding Chairman Yeung Fun-bun, Chairman Cheng Cheung-ling, Permanent President Chan Hak-kan, President Cheung Wah-fung and President Kwan Chi-ping. Noting that the advisory board members are distinguished leaders from various sectors, Mr Tang thanked them for their staunch support by leveraging their experience, network and enthusiasm for serving society to enrich the forum’s training and the youth members’ experience, and to provide valuable advice to the development of the forum, striving to nurture more outstanding leaders for society. Established by the Security Bureau last October as a way to deepen the participation of government departments and civil service grades in youth work, the forum organises training activities for its members. The bureau pointed out that there are 50 youth members in this forum, selected from distinguished members of various disciplined and auxiliary services youth uniformed groups. In the past few months, the bureau organised diverse activities for the members, which included a two-day induction course at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy in Tseung Kwan O, a two-day event at the Civil Aid Service Yuen Tun Camp, seminars on national security and “one country, two systems”, and visits to the Government Flying Service and a public transport operator. More activities such as field trips to the Greater Bay Area and internships in the Security Bureau will be arranged in the future, the bureau added.
In 2021, the Fire Services Department (FSD) successfully bred its first batch of working dogs in collaboration with the Customs & Excise Department. Among them are Umi and Uma, who are now two years old. As an essential part of the FSD’s Search & Rescue Dog Team, the pair have already saved many lives. In February this year, Umi and his teammate Twix helped at the Türkiye earthquake zone and rescued four people. In July last year, Umi and Uma were deployed together to search for a missing hiker on a mountain in Clear Water Bay. They also conducted searches after a No.3 alarm fire broke out in a warehouse in Fanling last August. Umi's handler Chan Chu-hong believed that Umi is perfect as a search and rescue dog. "The English Springer Spaniel has a keen sense of smell. Coupled with its agility, it can cover large areas and detect the source of human scent in no time, " said Mr Chan. New search methods Operations in mountain areas is a training focus for the canines. The number of mountain rescues in Hong Kong rose from 242 in 2018 to 1,014 last year. In the past, search and rescue dogs would carry out large-scale searches to detect human scents, but it was energy consuming due to the absence of a specific target scent. Because of this, the department changed things round and employed a new training technique early last year that focuses on tracking specific odours. “During actual rescue operations, we visit the missing people's home and collect their scents, such as those from pillowcases, shoes or clothing for the dogs to track,” Mr Chan explained. Enhanced training Search and rescue dogs regularly practise their skills at an urban search and rescue training ground at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy. The Department said the canines had to overcome environmental challenges such as distracting food smells, the scent from different people's clothing, heavy machinery and even fire at the quake-stricken areas in Türkiye. The experience has helped to strengthen their regular training. “We can enhance our training by simulating a more realistic collapsed site environment, understanding the potential dangers in actual disaster areas and thus develop more suitable search and rescue strategies,” said Mr Chan. Well bred The Fire Services Department currently has six search and rescue dogs, of which Uma and Umi were bred and trained in Hong Kong, while the other four were born and trained in other places. The Department believes that in-house breeding can better meet their training needs. "The puppies received basic training and socialisation training in a game-based mode at around two months old to help them develop a brave and friendly character. They could also adapt to the weather and terrain of Hong Kong," Mr Chan said. The department hopes to breed a new generation of search and rescue dogs in the future to help the people of Hong Kong.
The Immigration Department (ImmD) today announced that starting from April 12, the appointment booking arrangements for identity card applications will be further enhanced. Since March 6, the working hours of four Registration of Persons (ROP) Offices - the Hong Kong Office, Kowloon Office, Kwun Tong Office and Tuen Mun Office - have been extended. In view of the upsurge in demand for the replacement of ID card service since the resumption of travel, staring from April 12, people already in possession of Hong Kong ID cards reaching 11 or 18 years of age may book an appointment to replace the ID cards during the extended service hours of the four ROP Offices. The arrangement is only applicable to applicants who are already in possession of Hong Kong ID cards applying for replacement. Applicants reaching 11 or 18 years of age who have never registered for an ID card should book an appointment during normal ROP service hours for first registration of their ID card. The appointment bookable period of the ROP services appointment booking system will also be extended from 24 working days to 96 working days. Residents may scan the QR codes to download the ImmD mobile application or make an appointment for an ID card application online. They are reminded to arrive at the ROP Offices as scheduled for ID card services. ROP Offices will not process applications without appointments.
The Department of Justice today announced that two working groups have been set up under the Steering Committee on Rule of Law Education to follow up on the work relating to the Rule of Law Education Train-the-Trainers Programme. The establishment of the two groups - the Working Group on Course Design & Teaching Materials and the Working Group on Coordination & Liaison - was agreed at the committee's first meeting in February. The course design group was formed on March 29 and convened its first meeting that day. Chaired by Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal Patrick Chan, the group's main duty is to guide, co-ordinate and examine the structure and key contents of the programme's training course as well as the design and preparation of relevant teaching materials. The other working group, which was established today, is chaired by Legislative Council member Carmen Kan. It mainly co-ordinates the programme's implementation, including the invitation of speakers, recruitment of students, promotion and publicity work, and the direction and co-ordination of the strategy for further promoting the rule of law in the community. Both groups are also required to report to the committee on its work progress. The launch of the steering committee and the programme are among the department's key policy initiatives announced in the 2022 Policy Address. The programme aims to train people in various sectors of the community and enhance their capability of and effectiveness in passing on correct messages of the rule of law to others, thereby achieving the objective of promoting rule of law education on all fronts. Click here for the membership lists of the two working groups.