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The Fire Services Department today said the white foam found in a water pond in Tseung Kwan O last night was firefighting foam that had inadvertently gone into the stormwater drainage system, and follow-up work is ongoing. Responding to media enquiries, the FSD said it received a report last night about the discovery of white foam in a Siu Chik Sha water pond. The FSD explained that it conducted a test of “biodegradable fluorine-free firefighting foam” yesterday at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy (FASA) close to the pond's location. The department suspects that some of the firefighting foam did not divert into the pipes of the foam treatment system during the test, and inadvertently went into the stormwater drainage system. The FSD immediately cleaned the FASA stormwater drainage system and took on-site samples for further testing by the Government Laboratory. It also arranged for a contractor to inspect the foam treatment system, which also completed the cleaning work at nearby channels late this afternoon. The FSD said it will closely monitor the situation of the nearby channels in these few days and take appropriate follow-up action if any more foam is found. Additionally, the FASA has suspended all drills involving firefighting foam until the cleaning work and inspection of the foam treatment system are completed. The FSD will continue to co-operate with various departments on the matter. It emphasised that the foam concentrate used in the test is a fluorine-free firefighting foam that is biodegradable and does not remain in the environment as a persistent organic pollutant.
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) Chief Executive John Lee said the Government will enhance enforcement action and amend the law to increase the penalty for those who fail to comply with fire safety rules, following last week’s fire at the New Lucky House in Jordan. Mr Lee made the statement ahead of this morning’s Executive Council meeting, saying that the Government will make enforcement procedures more efficient and set priorities on prosecution. “We will be trying to shorten the duration of time that will be taken for actual action to be taken against those who have not complied (with the Government's directions). “We will also set priorities on prosecution. For those (who) have been posing quite an immediate fire hazard or structural hazard, then, of course, they (such cases) will be (a) priority.” The Chief Executive added that the Government will submit a legislative proposal to empower government departments to carry out the necessary work to improve fire safety and fire service installations. He explained that the move is to ensure that delays in making such improvements will not occur. Meanwhile, to strengthen the deterrence effect, the legislative amendment will also include increasing the penalty for non-compliance with directions issued by the Buildings Department.
The Security Bureau (SB) and its eight disciplined services and auxiliary services held a flag-raising ceremony and other activities to mark National Security Education Day today. Under the theme “10th anniversary of a Holistic Approach to National Security”, the events were aimed at deepening citizens’ understanding of the services’ work in safeguarding national security and their own responsibility towards upholding it. In the morning, the SB and its disciplined services jointly held a flag-raising ceremony at the Police College, with Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki officiating. The ceremony started with a music performance by the Police Band, followed by a march-in of the disciplined services ceremonial guard. The flag-raising ceremony, conducted by the Police flag party, involved the playing and singing of the national anthem. Addressing the ceremony, Mr Chan said that national security is the foundation for prosperity and stability in society, and of the well-being of the people. He highlighted the immediate effect of the promulgation and implementation of the National Security Law in stopping violence, curbing disorder and quickly restoring social stability in Hong Kong. In addition, he noted that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region had fulfilled its constitutional duty by completing the Basic Law Article 23 legislation this year to improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security. Stressing that national security education and patriotic education go hand in hand, Mr Chan said the Hong Kong SAR Government will work with the newly established Working Group on Patriotic Education to rally support from all quarters to promote patriotic education and the mainstream values characterised by patriotism across four areas of society. The four areas are: school education; local communities; history, politics, the economy and culture; and media publicity. After the flag-raising ceremony, Mr Chan officiated at the Safeguarding National Security Cup awards presentation ceremony. He commended the SB and its disciplined services and auxiliary services for holding sports competitions to raise participants’ awareness of national security while showcasing their vitality and unity. In addition to the flag-raising ceremony, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung also attended other national security education activities today, including the National Security Education Day Opening Ceremony & Seminar held by the Hong Kong SAR Committee for Safeguarding National Security at the Convention & Exhibition Centre.    Meanwhile, more than 102,000 students from 585 secondary and primary schools participated in the Territory-wide Inter-school National Security Knowledge Challenge. The highlights of the finals, and the award presentation ceremony, will be broadcast in a programme at 9.30pm today on HOY Infotainment.
Activities for the 2024 National Security Education Day were launched at the Convention & Exhibition Centre today. In his keynote speech, delivered via video link at the opening ceremony, CPC Central Committee Hong Kong & Macao Work Office Director and State Council Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office Director Xia Baolong said that the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, which took effect on March 23, is a significant milestone in the implementation of “one country, two systems”. Mr Xia said that today, with the protection offered by national security legislation and the full implementation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”, Hong Kong has bade farewell to an era of instability, allowing it to be fully focused on pursuing economic growth and advancing development. He stressed that to realise the transition from stability to prosperity, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must meet five needs: the need to firmly safeguard national security so as to provide the necessary conditions for high-quality development; the need to steadfastly implement “one country, two systems” and give full play to its fundamental safeguards in maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability; the need to consolidate, make best use of and further develop Hong Kong’s unique position and advantages; the need to better integrate into national development so as to bring new impetus and more business opportunities to Hong Kong; and the need to adapt to new situations and challenges, and to embrace new responsibilities, so as to break new ground and achieve a new leap forward. Realising the transition from stability to prosperity is the common enterprise of the whole community of Hong Kong, he said. Mr Xia added that citizens will surely draw on the Lion Rock spirit to pioneer change, explore opportunities, strive, persevere and move forward, thereby creating a new era of development for Hong Kong and a brighter future together. He said that with the strong backing of the Motherland and the efforts of all Hong Kong people, the city will advance unhindered. Chief Executive and National Security Committee Chairman John Lee said Mr Xia’s inspiring speech pointed to the direction Hong Kong must take to realise the transition from stability to prosperity. He was grateful to Mr Xia for the care, guidance and support he has given Hong Kong. In his own keynote speech at the opening ceremony, Mr Lee said the Hong Kong SAR Government will implement the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance in four ways: by making continuous efforts to brief the community; by reviewing and strengthening internal systems; by sparing no effort in enhancing executive capabilities to prevent suppress, and impose punishment for national security offences; and by strengthening national security education. Mr Lee said that following the enactment of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance on March 23, Hong Kong has put up a shield and strengthened the defensive wall of its national security. He added that as Hong Kong SAR transits from stability to prosperity, it will focus its efforts on pursuing economic growth, advancing development, improving people's livelihoods and bringing fulfilment to the people. Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong Director and National Security Committee National Security Advisor Zheng Yanxiong also attended the activities. The theme of this year’s National Security Education Day is “10th Anniversary of a Holistic Approach to National Security”. A five-month programme, the “National Security Knowledge Challenge for All Schools in Hong Kong”, has been jointly organised by the Government and a private foundation, with more 100,000 primary and secondary school students participating. Events included the first National Security Education Study Tour, in which 75 teachers and students from 17 secondary schools visited Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou to experience and appreciate first-hand the importance of various aspects of national security.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has said it strongly disapproves of and rejects the untruthful remarks, slanders and smears against various aspects of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by the UK in its so-called “Six-monthly report on Hong Kong: July to December 2023”, on April 15.  The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China, and that as a local administrative region that enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the principle of “one country, two systems”, it comes directly under the jurisdiction of the Central People’s Government. It highlighted that the core essence of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is about China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and that it does not authorise the UK to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs following its return to the motherland. It said that the UK had made skewed remarks about Hong Kong that confounded right and wrong, and that its attempt to undermine the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong is doomed to fail. It also reiterated that it will resolutely, fully and faithfully implement the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL), the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance and other relevant laws safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, to effectively prevent, suppress and impose punishment for acts and activities endangering national security in accordance with the law, whilst maintaining the common law system, adhering to the principle of the rule of law and upholding the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people in accordance with the law, so as to ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of the principle of “one country, two systems”. The Hong Kong SAR Government demanded that the UK immediately stop acting against international law and the basic norms of international relations by interfering in China’s internal affairs. Regarding the remarks in the UK’s report about Hong Kong’s improved electoral system and the 2023 District Council (DC) Ordinary Election, the Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that these are utterly untrue, adding that the improved electoral system puts in place legal safeguards to ensure the full implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. It stressed that in Hong Kong anyone who meets the requirements and criteria of being a patriot can participate in elections in accordance with the law and serve the Hong Kong public by entering into the governance structure of the Hong Kong SAR on being successfully elected. It highlighted that in view of the chaos during the previous term, putting DCs back on the right track and reforming them is necessary and imperative. It said the current system enables people who love the country, have an affection for Hong Kong and are dedicated to serving their districts to participate in the work of DCs. With regard to national security-related laws, the Hong Kong SAR Government said that since the implementation of the NSL in June 2020, the UK has failed to mention the large-scale and incessant riots which occurred in 2019 and devastated Hong Kong’s society, livelihoods and economy. Instead, it said, the UK has chosen to maliciously slander the laws safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, and to blatantly attack the Hong Kong SAR’s efforts safeguarding national security, while neglecting the fact that such laws have enabled economic activity in Hong Kong to return to normalcy. It added that the UK’s bullying acts, hypocrisy and double standards are ugly and despicable. The Hong Kong SAR Government also stressed that the laws safeguarding national security in Hong Kong are precisely intended to safeguard national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, ensure the full and faithful implementation of “one country, two systems”, and better safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of the residents of Hong and other people in the city, including those doing business in it. In relation to safeguarding the administration of justice and rule of law, the Hong Kong SAR Government said the right to choose lawyers is protected by the Basic Law, and that it is well-established by case law that such a choice means the right to choose lawyers who are available and entitled to practise in Hong Kong, and not overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practise. It stressed that in the UK there is simply no regime for ad hoc admission of overseas lawyers similar to that in Hong Kong, not to mention any regime allowing overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practise generally there to handle national security cases. The Hong Kong SAR Government noted that the amendment to the Legal Practitioners Ordinance was introduced in 2023 with a view to addressing the potential national security risks associated with the participation in national security cases by overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practise generally in Hong Kong, and to implementing the interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of Articles 14 and 47 of the NSL.
CPC Central Committee Hong Kong & Macao Work Office Director and State Council Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office Director Xia Baolong, together with all leading officials of his office in Beijing, will attend the National Security Education Day opening ceremony tomorrow via video link, the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced today. Mr Xia will officiate at the ceremony and deliver a keynote speech. National Security Committee Chairman and Chief Executive John Lee expressed a warm welcome to Mr Xia for joining the ceremony online with all the leading officials of his office. Mr Lee said: “The National Security Education Day of this year is particularly meaningful for Hong Kong. This year marks the 10th anniversary of a holistic approach to national security put forward by President Xi Jinping. It is also the first National Security Education Day after the Hong Kong SAR has accomplished its mission under Article 23 of the Basic Law, and the first National Security Education Day after the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance took effect.” The Chief Executive also advised the public to remain vigilant as the prevailing geopolitics has become increasingly complex and national security risks and threats remain imminent. The means taken to endanger national security can come in many different forms and persist, and the threat can emerge all of a sudden, he stressed. The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance requires that the Hong Kong SAR promote national security education and raise awareness of abiding by the law through public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation. The National Security Education Day activities can help raise the awareness and sense of responsibility for safeguarding national security among citizens, reminding them to stay alert to national security risks, Mr Lee added.
In support of National Security Education Day on April 15, the Fire Services Department, the Customs & Excise Department and the Civil Aid Service held open days to promote national security education and showcase departmental achievements. At the Fire Services Department’s open day at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy in Tseung Kwan O, exhibition boards and game booths on national security were set up to enhance public understanding of the importance of national security. A flag-raising ceremony was also held with the department’s Guard of Honour performing a Chinese-style foot drill. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam and Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung toured the exhibitions and watched performances. Simulation training facilities, a simulated Pak Shing Kok railway station, the Fire & Ambulance Services Education Centre & Museum and the National Security Education & Resource Centre were open to the public today. Visitors could also obtain information on the department’s recruitment exercise and try the physical fitness test for recruitment. Meanwhile, the Customs College open day featured a wide range of activities, including an exhibition on national security education, game booths, a National Security Cup 3x3 basketball tournament as well as performances by the Customs & Excise Department Band, Guards of Honour, Dragon & Lion Dance Team and Detector Dog Team. Specially-made sweet buns and milk tea carrying the message of safeguarding national security were also distributed to visitors. The event was attended by Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki, Mr Tang and Under Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk. Other programmes included a display of the vehicle X-ray inspection system, guided tours and the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment System experience. For the Civil Aid Service’s open day joined by over 3,000 visitors, an exhibition and two talks were held to raise public awareness of national security. Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong officiated at the open day and the opening ceremony of the Civil Aid Service National Security Education Exhibition Centre. Apart from the sessions on national security education, visitors enjoyed a mountain search-and-rescue demonstration, a foot drill performance, a military music performance and a bicycle show by Civil Aid Service members.
To tie in with National Security Education Day on April 15 and celebrate the 180th anniversary of the Police Force’s establishment, the National Security Education Day & Hong Kong Police Force 180th Anniversary Police College Open Day was held at the Hong Kong Police College today. The event aimed to promote public awareness of national security, enhance the cultivation of national identity and foster communication between Police and citizens while sharing joy and fun. Addressing the event, Chief Executive John Lee noted that this year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s proposal of the holistic view of national security, and is also the first National Security Education Day after enacting legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law. Lauding the Police Force as an important strength in safeguarding Hong Kong and national security as well as maintaining law and order and protecting citizens since its establishment in 1844, Mr Lee thanked the force on behalf of the Government and citizens for its contribution to Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee supplemented that he believed the force would continue to safeguard national security and unite to fulfil its mission and strive for excellence. Also speaking at the ceremony, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Director Zheng Yanxiong highlighted that enacting Article 23 legislation is a significant achievement of the Hong Kong SAR in fulfilling its constitutional responsibility. The enactment signifies that Hong Kong now possesses an impenetrable barrier to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and consolidates as a united front to promote the city’s advancement from stability to prosperity, he stressed. Mr Zheng also expressed hope that Police would keep in mind their mission to resolutely safeguard national security, and the steadfast and successful implementation of “one country, two systems”, and uphold the rule of law. The open day kicked off with a grand show featuring music performances, driving demonstrations, a police dog show, and counter-terrorism drill. To signify the inheritance of the force's professionalism, officers sealed memorable items in a time capsule which will be reopened after 20 years. In addition, the open day featured four zones - Upholding National Security & Safeguarding Our City, Beyond 180 Years, Police Fun Zone, and Modern Police Professional. Highlights included an upgraded “NS Express National Security Exhibition”, a virtual reality film showcasing the history of the force, a display of advanced equipment of elite units and police vehicles as well as the 17 police mascots gathering for the first time to meet and greet the public. The Correctional Services Department, the Government Flying Service and the Immigration Department also held open days in support of National Security Education Day.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today strongly condemned the US and Canada for smearing the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance under the pretext of foreign travel advice updates. The so-called travel advice claimed that the risks of travelling to Hong Kong would increase after the ordinance comes into effect. Pointing out that it is a political manoeuvre with fact-twisting and scaremongering remarks to spread panic, the Hong Kong SAR Government urged the US and Canada to stop their attempts to interfere in Hong Kong safeguarding national security in accordance with the law. The Hong Kong SAR Government said that the offences endangering national security stipulated in the ordinance precisely target acts endangering national security, and define the elements and penalties of the offences with clarity. Moreover, the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had the actus reus and mens rea of an offence before the defendant may be convicted by the court. Separately, the Hong Kong SAR Government made it clear that extraterritorial effect for the offences under the Hong Kong National Security Law and the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance is both necessary and legitimate, and is also in line with those of other countries and regions around the world. “It can be seen that the national security laws of various countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and the member states of the European Union, also have extraterritorial effect under the personality principle and the protective principle. “In formulating the extraterritorial effect under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, we have already taken into account the principles of international law and international practice of state jurisdiction as well as the nature of the offences.” The Hong Kong SAR Government further emphasised that its law enforcement agencies have been taking enforcement actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the people concerned. It stressed that the claims of arbitrary enforcement and wrongful detention completely disregard the facts. It also strongly opposed the countries concerned for attempting to achieve political goals by means of intimidation and interference with the legitimate exchanges of the public and the business sector. The Hong Kong SAR Government stated that it has always welcomed ordinary travellers and businessmen, and if they do not conduct acts and activities endangering national security and not unwittingly violate the law, they have no reason to be worried. 
The Action Plan on the Construction of Rule of Law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has been released, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced today. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam explained that the action plan has two intentions, namely to underpin the guiding principle of “Three Interfaces, Two Connects & One Greater Bay Area”, and strengthen collaboration with the legal and dispute resolution sectors and other stakeholders to effectively implement policy measures set out in the plan. Through mechanisms, regulatory frameworks and talent – the “three interfaces” – the DoJ said it will promote hardware and software connectivity in constructing rule of law in the bay area, co-operation between the various cities according to their respective strengths, and collaboration between different legal systems, thereby eventually achieving the goal of “one Greater Bay Area”. Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan, who is also the leading Hong Kong-side official in the working group on Guangdong-Hong Kong co-operation on legal and dispute resolution services, and in the working group on Hong Kong-Shenzhen legal co-operation, elaborated on specific measures under the “three interfaces”. In relation to the interface of mechanisms, the DoJ will make good use of the mechanisms already established with other bay area ministries and stakeholders, and promote the setting up of a high-level bay area platform with the Supreme People’s Court to take forward practical and research work on judicial and legal matters relating to the bay area. The DoJ will also promote the establishment of a bay area legal and dispute resolution services information platform to enable people and enterprises to obtain comprehensive and accurate information. With regard to the regulatory frameworks interface, the DoJ has been taking steps to expand the scope of application of “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to adopt Hong Kong law” and “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to choose for arbitration to be seated in Hong Kong”. Moreover, it will promote the formulation of best practices in bay area non-litigation dispute resolution rules to facilitate the interface and co-ordination of different dispute resolution services in the bay area, and prepare to organise bay area mediator training programmes in Hong Kong. It will also set up a bay area online dispute resolution platform to facilitate the development of a multifaceted dispute resolution mechanism, and support Hong Kong mediation organisations in handling commercial mediation cases in the bay area in the form of “specially invited mediation organisations”. In terms of talent, the DoJ will put forward new measures, including the establishment of the Hong Kong International Legal Talents Training Academy, to gather and nurture foreign-related legal talent in the bay area, and advocate for the establishment of a platform for bay area lawyers to drive their professional development. It will also enable the Hong Kong legal sector to integrate into the bay area’s development in order to build a competitive brand of legal services, and organise visits and exchanges to encourage the development of bay area legal talent. Mr Lam said the action plan, released on the fifth anniversary of the promulgation of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, demonstrates the importance the DoJ attaches to its work relating to the bay area. He said: “The DoJ will take action as a means and adopt a result-oriented approach to pursue in a pragmatic spirit the implementation of the action plan during the tenure of the current-term Government, with a view to contributing to the construction of rule of law in the (bay area) with concrete results.” He emphasised that the DoJ will deepen co-operation among stakeholders, including establishing standing and effective interface mechanisms with Mainland authorities, and listen to people’s views. The department will also encourage various sectors to open up opportunities, while assisting them in forming a platform for exchange and collaboration, so as to achieve integrated growth and contribute to the country’s strategic development, he added.