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2020

17/02/2020
Customs today urged parents to stop letting babies use an unsafe teether which could lead to suffocation. It warned the teether is too small and could easily become stuck in a baby's throat, and that it is contrary to the general safety requirements stipulated in the Toys & Children's Products Safety Ordinance. The department also found another two teether models failed to comply with the ordinance's requirements to bear identification markings and applicable bilingual warnings or cautions. Customs officers had earlier conducted a citywide spot check in various districts and seized 1,095 teethers of three models in contravention of the ordinance from four chain stores and a wholesaler. Among them, 937 teethers could pose a suffocation risk and 158 failed to bear identification markings and applicable bilingual warnings or cautions. An investigation is ongoing. Customs reminds members of the public, when purchasing teethers, to pay attention to age recommendations shown on labels, study and follow the instructions and check if the teethers have a fragile structure. It is an offence to supply, manufacture or import unsafe toys or children's products. The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and one-year imprisonment on first conviction, and a fine of $500,000 and two-years' imprisonment on subsequent conviction. Call 2545 6182 or email to report suspected unsafe toys or children's products.
17/02/2020
After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Government has announced a series of prevention and control measures to reduce the risk of spread of the disease in the community. Compulsory quarantine, on the basis of a public health emergency (under Cap. 599 Prevention & Control of Disease Ordinance), is one of the measures in place. From February 8 onwards, all people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland, including Hong Kong residents, Mainland residents as well as other visitors, are required to be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. Even if they are entering from other places, if they have visited the Mainland over the past 14 days, mandatory quarantine is still applicable upon their arrival. Anyone who violates the regulation may face a maximum penalty of imprisonment for six months and a fine of $25,000 upon conviction. We hope that the new measures could further reduce the flow of people between Hong Kong and the Mainland, reducing the risks for a spread of the disease in Hong Kong. The Department of Health would gather evidence and conduct investigations into any contravention of quarantine orders before referring the cases to the Department of Justice for making prosecutorial decisions. Our prosecutors would make such decisions based on available evidence, applicable laws and the Prosecution Code. A prosecution would be commenced if there is sufficient admissible evidence for a reasonable prospect of conviction. Minimising social contact in the community is another key measure to curb the spread of the virus. Hence, we only arranged for a certain number of colleagues, including government counsel, paralegals and supporting staff, to return to the office to handle urgent matters and provide basic public services. The reception counters of the Prosecutions Division and the Civil Division have remained open over the past few weeks to allow members of the public and the legal profession to serve court documents. The shroff office is also partly open for payment service. Details of the service hours are available from our press release. There are colleagues from different divisions returning to the office to handle emergency works including attending urgent court hearings, processing court documents and attending urgent meetings. We have arranged for sufficient manpower to provide cleansing services at the office to safeguard the health of colleagues. For others, who are given laptops and electronic communication devices, are advised to work at home. I am heartened to learn that the Department of Justice is largely functioning well. The Judiciary announced that court hearings would be generally adjourned in view of public health considerations but the courts would continue to handle urgent and essential hearings. Colleagues from the Department of Justice have been deployed to attend such hearings to deal with cases including bail applications and sentencing. I am grateful to all my colleagues for remaining steadfast at their posts at this difficult time. I also urge those who are required to stay at home or other dwelling places for a 14-day quarantine to abide by the law and strictly comply with the quarantine orders. Violation of orders causes a spread of the disease and leads to criminal prosecution. Last but not the least, I appeal to all members of the public to join hands with the Government to do their best to prevent and curb the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining good personal hygiene, thereby ending the epidemic as soon as possible. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng wrote this article and posted it on her blog on February 17.
17/02/2020
Customs announced that it has tested the second batch of 20 surgical mask samples and found that they comply with the bacterial count standard. The first batch of 20 samples passed the safety test early this month. Currently, all of the 40 test-purchased surgical masks in two batches have passed the tests and no violations of the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance have been found. The department launched a large-scale citywide special operation on January 27 to conduct spot checks, test purchases and inspections in various districts on surgical masks available on the market. As of February 16, it conducted more than 13,000 inspections at retail spots selling surgical masks and more than 80 samples have been test-purchased. Customs will continue to inspect surgical mask retail locations and conduct test-buy operations to ensure that masks being sold comply with the Trade Descriptions Ordinance and the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance. People can report suspected violations by calling the department at 2545 6182 or by email.
17/02/2020
Secretary for Security John Lee today said two chartered flights are ready to bring home Hong Kong residents quarantined for the novel coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. Speaking during a press briefing at the airport, Mr Lee noted the two flights will leave Japan on February 19 and arrive in Hong Kong the following day. The Hong Kong residents can board the flights once Japan authorities clear their blood tests, but they will be placed under quarantine again when they return home. “After their arrival in Hong Kong, they will be sent to quarantine camps for 14 days’ quarantine.” He urged all the Hong Kong residents to accept a seat on the flights, so they could go through the proper procedures together, adding that they could encounter difficulties if they tried to return home by themselves. “I advise all Hong Kong residents to take this chartered flight so that they will all come back together to go through the procedure for their own health reason and for the protection of other people.” Mr Lee revealed that each chartered flight has more than 400 seats which are enough to cater for the some 350 Hong Kong people on the cruise, including 260 Hong Kong permanent residents, and 90 foreign passport holders. The security chief also said there are five Macau citizens onboard the cruise who can join the chartered flights and will receive help in getting back to Macau once they land in Hong Kong.
15/02/2020
In light of the special work arrangement extension for government departments to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, various departments today announced the latest arrangements for public services. The Fire Services Department’s fire protection units will continue to provide basic and limited public services next week. These include licence applications, dangerous goods vehicle inspection applications, fire service installations acceptance inspections of new buildings and compliance inspections of ventilating systems, building plans processing, and building fire safety improvement works-related matters. The department’s Shroff Office and Receipt & Dispatch Counter of the Licensing & Certification Command Headquarters and the Receipt & Dispatch Counter of the Fire Safety Command Headquarters will provide basic services from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department’s licensing services counters at the Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices and its Marine Parks Office in Tsuen Wan will sustain basic and limited public services from 9.30am to noon and 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday and Thursday. The Drainage Services Department said that in addition to emergency and essential public services being maintained, it will continue to provide basic and limited services to the public next week.
15/02/2020
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is arranging a chartered flight to bring Hong Kong residents quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan back home free of charge. The Security Bureau today said the flight will proceed as soon as residents are permitted to disembark the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. Once Japanese authorities have confirmed the detailed arrangements, the Hong Kong SAR Government will inform the affected passengers of their return date and related details. Given the potential risk to public health, those returning will be placed under quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in Hong Kong. Immigration officers are concurrently notifying passengers concerned of their arrangements via text messages. The Immigration Department and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, Tokyo have been maintaining close contact with the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR, the Chinese Embassy in Japan, and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to keep abreast of updated conditions of Hong Kong residents quarantined on the cruise ship. The SAR Government will continue to urge the Japanese side to confirm the passengers’ disembarkation details as soon as possible. According to the cruise operator, there are around 330 Hong Kong residents on board, including 260 SAR passport holders and around 70 holding foreign passports.
14/02/2020
Customs today clarified that it did not cause a backlog of imported face masks. It made the statement to dismiss recent rumours that a backlog of face masks sent via air parcels has occurred at the department. Customs said the rumours are totally fabricated and unfounded. Its operations at the Air Mail Centre remain normal and sufficient manpower and inspection equipment are in place to conduct customs clearance, it said. Customs pointed out that it has not caused an imported cargo backlog, adding that customs clearance has not delayed air-mail and postal delivery. The department said it will continue to fully collaborate with Hongkong Post in handling mail items at the Air Mail Centre.
14/02/2020
(To watch the video with sign language interpretation, click here.) Secretary for Security John Lee today said the Government has sent four immigration officers to help Hong Kong residents quarantined for the novel coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan and to liaise with authorities there. During a press conference with the Chief Executive and other principal officials, Mr Lee said the immigration officers together with officers from the economic and trade office in Japan and Chinese embassy officials have been keeping in contact with the Hong Kong citizens.  He added that the Hong Kong SAR Government had indicated to Japanese authorities to consider allowing the Hong Kong residents to be quarantined on land and for them to be tested for the virus as soon as possible. “We learnt that Japanese authorities will be conducting tests by selecting people, as the first batch, who are over 70 years old together with symptoms such as fever.  “Those who test positive will be sent to hospital for treatment. Those who test negative, they will be given a choice to either do the quarantine onboard the ship or on land. We understand that there is one Hong Kong lady over 80 who will be in the first batch of testing.” Mr Lee also noted that the Security Bureau has set up a working group to look at how the Hong Kong passengers can return home as soon as possible.  Officials in the working group include officers from the Security Bureau, Immigration Department, the Food & Health Bureau, Health Department and various government departments which are experienced in arranging transport and offering assistance. “What we are doing is liaising closely with Japanese authorities so as to get first-hand information as quickly as possible.  “Some questions we want to get answers from Japanese authorities include how soon will these Hong Kong people be allowed to disembark, how soon they will be allowed to leave Japan for Hong Kong, whether they will be allowed to disembark in groups, how big each group will be, how many days it may take.” Mr Lee added the immigration officers have provided around 50 Hong Kong people on board with the medicine they need, while about 17 or 18 people have received the required medicine through the cruise.
09/02/2020
Police today rejected a report by an online magazine titled “Police and triads appear on the same occasion”, which alleged that police officers attended a banquet at a restaurant in Hung Hom with lawbreakers.  In a statement, Police noted that the report distorted the facts. It said the banquet referred to in the report was a private dinner which was held after office hours at the officers’ own expense. It did not involve official duties and public funds and the officers were not required to report for duty after the dinner.   The officers attending the event that night did not know the identities of other customers in the restaurant and did not have any contact or communication with the customers in the other rooms. The force expressed deep regret over the report which intentionally gave the perception that the event was related to lawbreakers.   It said the groundless accusations are ill-willed and sensationalised with intentions to smear Police.   The statement also said the force always stands against triads and they have a full-fledged strategy to combat triads, plan undercover operations from time to time, as well as proactively block triads' income source and criminal proceeds. Police severely condemn the online magazine's irresponsible and unfounded report.
09/02/2020
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is providing assistance to Hong Kong residents quarantined for the novel coronavirus on a cruise in Japan. The Immigration Department said today there are 260 Hong Kong residents on board the cruise. Among them, three are confirmed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus and are receiving medical treatment at a local hospital. The remaining residents have been placed under quarantine for 14 days on board the ship since February 5. The Immigration Department has received requests for assistance from the Hong Kong residents on board who have asked for an early return and medication. The department has promptly reflected the situation and requests of the Hong Kong residents to the cruise company and duty doctor. It has also requested the authorities concerned in Japan to provide medication and assistance. The department has also liaised with the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health in Hong Kong to understand the latest situation. Some affected Hong Kong residents have been issued with the required medication while others will receive it later. Immigration officers will be deployed to Japan to liaise with the relevant parties to ensure the Hong Kong residents obtain assistance. Together with the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, Tokyo, the Immigration Department will look into the return arrangements of those Hong Kong residents after their quarantine is completed on February 19, to provide further assistance. They will render suitable and practicable assistance according to the wishes of the Hong Kong residents. Hong Kong residents travelling abroad who need assistance may call the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit's 24-hour hotline at (852) 1868.

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