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Police today strongly condemned rioters’ violent and illegal acts, which endangered public safety. In a statement, Police said masked rioters gathering in Mong Kok paralysed traffic by building barricades with trash near Portland Street at 10pm on January 25. In response, police officers had to take enforcement actions to halt the unlawful road blockage. At 11pm, when Police were preparing to leave after law enforcement actions, some rioters threw glass bottles and miscellaneous objects at a police vehicle. Police used a tear gas grenade to combat the rioters’ violence. At 11.30pm, some rioters built barricades with wooden boards and roadside trash at the junction of Nathan Road and Shan Tung Street. Police officers arrived at the scene to take enforcement actions and to remove the barricades. The force strongly condemned these violent and illegal acts. Police reiterated that they always respect people's freedom and rights to express their views peacefully.
Hong Kong will impose restrictions on all Hubei Province residents and people who visited the province in the past 14 days from entering the city. The decision was announced after Chief Executive Carrie Lam convened a meeting of the Steering Committee & Command Centre about the novel coronavirus today. As the outbreak is mainly found and the situation is getting more severe in Hubei Province, Hubei residents and people who visited the province in the past 14 days, except for Hong Kong residents, will not be permitted to enter Hong Kong from January 27 until further notice. To facilitate the implementation of the measure, all self-service clearance channels at control points will only be open to Hong Kong residents. Non-Hong Kong residents will have to use normal immigration counters for immigration clearance. Mrs Lam on January 25 announced the activation of the emergency response level under the Preparedness & Response Plan for Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance and rolled out strategies and measures to tackle the disease. Given the confirmed cases in Hong Kong are imported ones, the Government has enhanced immigration control to contain the virus’ spread. The Steering Committee & Command Centre is monitoring the development of the disease and listening to the advice of experts to study measures that can further reduce the chances of infected people entering the city. At the meeting, it also considered that the restriction on Hubei residents and visitors should be imposed as soon as possible before the formulation of other more comprehensive measures.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam and senior officials today expressed shock and sadness over the passing of three customs officers while carrying out their duties in waters off Sha Chau. Currently on a duty visit in Davos, Switzerland, Mrs Lam extended her deepest condolences to the officers’ families. “The Hong Kong Customs is entrusted with the important tasks of law enforcement and customs control, including dangerous duties such as combating smuggling and drug trafficking. “Customs officers have always been fearless and dedicated to serving the public with professionalism. I am profoundly grieved by the unfortunate loss of three Customs colleagues who were on duty last night.” The Civil Service Bureau and the Customs & Excise Department will make every effort to support the families, Mrs Lam added. Deeply saddened by the officers’ death, Secretary for Security John Lee said the Government and the department will render their family members full support and assistance to help them tide over this difficult time. Commissioner of Customs & Excise Hermes Tang said five officers fell into the sea from a customs vessel at around 9pm yesterday in waters off Sha Chau. They were rescued by fire services and marine police officers and sent to North Lantau and Tuen Mun hospitals, but three were later certified dead. Mr Tang said the cause of the incident is under investigation, adding that the department has been in touch with the deceased officers' families and would make every effort to help them. On behalf of the civil service, Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law offered his deepest condolences to the families concerned, adding that the bureau will offer them all the assistance they may require. The Chief Executive and senior officials also sent their regards to the two officers injured in the incident and wished them a speedy recovery.
The Republic of Kenya will grant entry visas upon arrival to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport holders, the Immigration Department announced today. HKSAR passport holders may also apply for an online e-visa for Kenya. Hong Kong tourists can stay in the country for up to three months. Noting that Kenya is along the Belt & Road, the department said under the Belt & Road Initiative, the visa-on-arrival arrangement would bring greater travel convenience to HKSAR passport holders visiting Kenya and strengthen the tourism, cultural and economic ties between the two places. This arrangement brings to 168 the number of countries and territories that grant visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders. Those wishing to visit the country are advised to consult the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in the People's Republic of China before travelling.
The Government today expressed regret over unfounded allegations against the Commissioner of Police and the Force by a number of Tsuen Wan District Council members. The allegations were conveyed during today’s meeting held in the hope of enhancing communication with the District Council as well as strengthening ties and understanding between Police and the district. In a statement, the Home Affairs Bureau explained that the Government walked out of the meeting after District Council members also used insulting words. The Government urged those concerned to focus on livelihood issues and discuss matters rationally. The Government hopes that it can work with the District Council under the principle of mutual respect and rational discussion, the statement added.
The Immigration Department estimates about 5.94 million travellers will pass through Hong Kong’s boundary control points during the Lunar New Year holiday. Among them, 4.42 million passengers are expected to pass through land boundary control points. Outbound passengers using these control points will be relatively higher on January 26, with 367,000 people expected, and the number of inbound passengers using these control points will peak on January 28 and reach 451,000. Lo Wu Control Point will see an estimated 1.38 million passengers, or a daily average of 196,000, passing through. The daily average passenger forecasts for the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Shenzhen Bay control points are 106,000 and 98,000. The department, Police, Customs and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation will set up a joint command centre at Lo Wu Control Point to ensure smooth passenger traffic flow.
Customs today announced they arrested four people and seized 2,200 items during operations against the sale of infringing goods in Central. The items, including clothing, leather products, handbags, wallets and eyeglasses, have an estimated market value of $310,000. Officers raided mobile hawker stalls in Central on January 5, 12 and 19 to step up enforcement against infringing activities before the Lunar New Year. Three men and one woman, aged between 26 and 47, were arrested during the operations. Customs will continue to combat infringing activities during the Lunar New Year period. Call the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or send an email to report suspected infringing activities.
Police reiterated that they will continue to fully co-operate with the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) Special Task Force in all aspects of its study on the public order events since June 9. The statement was made after an interview with a former IPCC member was published in a local newspaper yesterday. It said since the commencement of the study on public order events since June 9, Police have been maintaining close liaison with the IPCC and professionally facilitated every aspect of the Special Task Force’s work. This includes providing required documents, answering enquiries as well as arranging interviews with specific police commanders. Police regret that the interview's content may lead to a misunderstanding that Police have not been fully co-operative with the study.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan today officiated at a reception to celebrate 2020 International Customs Day (ICD). Mr Chan said Hong Kong Customs is making considerable contributions to combat illegal activities and provide a safe and stable environment for the city. “Without Customs’ collective efforts, illegal drugs, endangered species, counterfeit products and other illicit goods would seriously damage the community.” He further noted that Customs plays a pivotal role in facilitating trade and promoting the economy. Mr Chan also presented World Customs Organization Certificates of Merit to Customs officers and private stakeholders to recognise their remarkable efforts in contributing to sustainable development. Commissioner of Customs & Excise Hermes Tang also presided over the event and elaborated on the close relationship between Hong Kong Customs' work and this year’s ICD theme "People, Prosperity & the Planet." The work includes people-oriented enforcement and crime prevention operations, trade facilitation measures to bring prosperity, and anti-smuggling of endangered species to conserve the earth. He expressed that the three concepts are in line with the notion of “community with a shared future for mankind” while the Belt & Road Initiative serves as a platform to build the community. About 350 guests attended the reception.
The Government today said it disagrees with the impromptu motion moved by the Central & Western District Council against Police and the Commissioner of Police. The motion made unfounded allegations against Police, it said. The Government added that it attaches great importance to the views of the District Councils, noting that department heads attend District Council meetings in person to listen to their views. The Commissioner of Police attended the Central & Western District Council meeting today and answered questions raised by council members. However, the Government disagrees with the council's impromptu practice as well as the stance of the motion, and therefore all government members in attendance walked out of the meeting.