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Police today severely condemned netizens for spreading fake news that the Commissioner of Police was infected with COVID-19 and sternly stated that such a rumour is totally groundless and fictitious. The force emphasised that it severely condemns the ill-intentioned parties who intend to cause chaos by spreading fake news and warned that resolute follow-up action will be taken.
The Security Bureau today strongly condemned people who disseminated fake news on social media to mislead members of the public. It said the fake news claimed that the Secretary for Security had stated the Government would arrest or punish diplomatic personnel from countries that interfere in Hong Kong affairs and their nationals in the city. The bureau emphasised that this is fake news, and strongly condemned the ill-willed act of spreading it.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today strongly deplored and opposed the biased comments in the report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong of the UK on August 4. In a statement, it said that matters of the Hong Kong SAR remain China's internal affairs. No other state has the right to intervene under any pretext. It pointed out that the group does not represent the UK Parliament and comments in the report come from information tendered by allegedly unnamed or anonymous people, adding that there is no actual evidence concerning the reasons for imposing the so-called sanctions against Hong Kong. The Government stated that Police have the statutory duty to take lawful measures to apprehend all people whom it is lawful to apprehend and for whose apprehension sufficient grounds exist. They also attach great importance to the safety of all people at the scene of public order events and will not obstruct any bona fide rescue work. But there is a need for Police to be prudent in verifying the qualifications of self-claimed first-aiders, given the situation in some of the unlawful public order events since June last year. The Government stressed that the international community should take an objective view on the social incidents that have happened in Hong Kong in the past year. When facing serious unlawful acts, Police have the statutory duty to take lawful measures to maintain public order and safety. The stringent guidelines on the use of force are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. The Government also explained that the enactment of the National Security Law is absolutely rational, reasonable, constitutional and lawful. It added that some UK politicians had made the law’s enactment an issue, neglecting the fact that the UK has also put in place relevant legislation and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding its national security and sovereignty. They also ignored the serious unlawful acts of rioters in Hong Kong, while indicating that certain measures or acts targeting Hong Kong would be adopted. The Government urged other countries to stop all political manipulation and interference.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, in accordance with the instruction of the Central People's Government, today issued a notice to the New Zealand Consulate-General to suspend the agreements on surrender of fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with New Zealand. In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government said it is an international practice to safeguard national security through the enactment of laws. It pointed out that New Zealand has put in place legislation and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard its national security and sovereignty, such as the Intelligence & Security Act and the Crimes Act 1961. However, New Zealand has unilaterally suspended the agreement on surrender of fugitive offenders with the Hong Kong SAR using the enactment of the National Security Law in the city as an excuse. This smacks of political manipulation and double standards. It is also gross interference in China's internal affairs and a grave violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations, the statement said. The Hong Kong SAR Government strongly objected to New Zealand's move, adding its wrongful act in politicising juridical co-operation has seriously damaged the basis of juridical co-operation between the city and New Zealand. All along, with the authorisation and assistance of the Central People’s Government, the Hong Kong SAR Government has conducted close and effective law enforcement co-operation with New Zealand under the legal framework of surrender of fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters agreements based on the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity. The Hong Kong SAR Government will, as always, uphold the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity, and carry out law enforcement co-operation with other members of the international community.
I am pleased to have shared with solicitor Mr TK Iu in an interview the effort by the Department of Justice in promoting mediation internationally and locally. The full interview is available at the Kluwer Mediation Blog (http://mediationblog.kluwerarbitration.com/2020/08/02/interview_with_hksj/). I hope you enjoy reading it! Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng wrote this article and posted it on her blog on August 2.
Customs seized 434 boxes of surgical masks which had a bacterial count suspected of exceeding the limit and urged people to stop using this type of mask. The department received test results of the latest batch of 14 test-purchased surgical mask samples on July 29. The total bacterial count of one type of surgical mask exceeded the limit by 1.3 times, contravening the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance. The department purchased the mask from a pharmacy in Sai Wan early this month. It was packed in boxes of 30 pieces each with individual packaging. Customs on July 30 seized 304 boxes of surgical masks of the same type from a supplier's office in Kwai Chung and seized 130 boxes from three pharmacies with selling prices ranging from $98 to $128. The investigation revealed that the masks were imported from the Mainland and were then supplied to three pharmacies located in Sai Wan, Mong Kok and Kowloon Bay. Four people aged between 41 and 77, including a supplier director, a pharmacy director and two pharmacy proprietors, were arrested. Customs launched a large-scale city-wide special operation on January 27 to conduct spot checks, test purchases and inspections of surgical masks on the market. Up till now, 520 samples have been tested for bacterial counts, of which 11 types of surgical masks have failed the test.
The number of crimes recorded in the first half of 2020 was 32,345, a 27.9% increase when compared with the same period in 2019. Reviewing the law and order situation in Hong Kong today, Police said there were 4,507 violent crime cases, a 13.5% increase over the same period last year. The increase was attributed to crimes arising from incidents relating to the anti-extradition amendment bill, including a 7.1-fold hike in offences against public order, an 85.2% increase in arson cases and a 38.8% hike in criminal damage cases. Other major crimes that registered a rise comprise deception, robbery, burglary and theft cases. Nevertheless, by comparing the crime figure of the first half of this year with that of the second half of 2019, overall crime dropped slightly by 4.9%. Crimes in relation to the anti-extradition bill incidents such as arson, criminal damage and offences against public order recorded a 30% to 80% drop. As of June 30, a total of 9,216 people were arrested in connection with bill-related incidents. Of them, 3,725 were students, comprising post-secondary students (55%) and secondary students (45%). Since June last year, protests have become increasingly violent with November seeing riots taking place at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Polytechnic University where the number of petrol bombs hurled and level of violence used by rioters on the campuses were unprecedented. Moreover, there were extremely violent groups using genuine firearms and explosives intended to kill police officers or force the Government to accede to their so-called “demands”. Police arrested 83 people in connection with 15 explosives and five genuine firearms cases arising from the anti-extradition bill-related incidents. Police emphasised that due to its strict law enforcement, the current situation in Hong Kong has greatly improved when compared with the frequent violence that occurred in the city more than half a year ago. To further prevent, suppress and impose punishment on criminal acts which endanger national security, the National Security Law came in force from June 30, 2020. It clearly stipulates the relevant offences that include acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security. With the establishment of the Police National Security Department on July 1, Police will stringently enforce the law and conduct investigations to ensure its effective implementation in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, in accordance with the instruction of the Central People’s Government, today issued notices to the Canadian, Australian and UK consulates to suspend the agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with these countries. In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government said it is an international practice to safeguard national security through the enactment of laws. It pointed out that Canada, Australia and the UK have respectively put in place legislation and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard their national security and sovereignty. However, these countries have unilaterally suspended the agreements on surrender of fugitive offenders with the Hong Kong SAR using the enactment of the National Security Law in Hong Kong as an excuse, it said. This smacks of political manipulation and double standards. It is also a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a grave violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations, the Hong Kong SAR Government said. The Hong Kong SAR Government strongly objects to their moves, adding that their wrongful acts in politicising juridical co-operation have seriously damaged the basis of such co-operation between the city and the three countries. All along, with the authorisation and assistance of the Central People’s Government, the Hong Kong SAR Government has conducted close and effective law enforcement co-operation with Canada, Australia and the UK under the legal framework of surrender of fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters agreements based on the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity. The Hong Kong SAR Government will, as always, uphold the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity and carry out law enforcement co-operation with other members of the international community in accordance with the law.
The Social Welfare Department (SWD) today said that an Assistant Social Work Officer of its Information Systems & Technology Branch has tested positive for COVID-19. The officer last worked in the office in Skyline Tower, Kowloon Bay on July 17. So far, no staff working there have developed symptoms or tested positive. Meanwhile, a 48-year-old male police officer posted to Tuen Mun Division preliminarily tested positive for the virus. He last attended work on July 24. Both patients had worn surgical masks when performing their tasks. Cleaning and disinfection of the places involved have been arranged. Police and the SWD are highly concerned about the epidemic and will maintain close contact with the Department of Health to take follow up action as appropriate.
In view of the latest COVID-19 epidemic developments, the deadline for the LawTech Fund application period will be extended to September 6 to allow eligible law firms and chambers more time to prepare their applications. Established under the second round of the Anti-epidemic Fund, the LawTech Fund has been open for applications since April to assist small and medium-size law firms and barristers' chambers in procuring and upgrading information technology systems and arranging their staff to attend lawtech training courses. Law firms or chambers which have five or fewer practising lawyers as at April 8 and at the time of granting the subsidy will be eligible for reimbursement for up to $50,000. Around 400 applications have been received so far. The Law Society of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Bar Association have established a joint committee to process and assess the applications, as well as arrange funding disbursement. The application form and guidance notes are available at the homepages of the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Bar Association. The Government encourages about 700 eligible law firms and chambers in Hong Kong to make use of the subsidy to enhance their technological capabilities so as to keep up with the Judiciary's development in remote hearings and provide legal services to clients amidst social distancing measures.