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2024

06/06/2024
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproved of and opposed the passing of a so-called resolution by the US House of Representatives. The resolution smeared and slandered the National Security Law (NSL) and the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance as well as enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong’s law enforcement agencies in accordance with the law. It also requested the imposition of so-called sanctions on the personnel responsible for the ordinance. Pointing out that the so-called sanctions intended to intimidate officials who resolutely safeguard national security, the Hong Kong SAR Government said the US House of Representatives attempted to use the name of freedom to disguise its despicable political motives and grossly interfered in Hong Kong affairs which are China’s internal affairs, violating international law and the basic norms governing international relations. It also stressed that the content regarding the laws relevant to safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR contained in the resolution is completely absurd and untrue. The Government said Hong Kong will not be intimidated by such despicable behaviour and will continue to resolutely safeguard national security in accordance with the law. Since the implementation of the NSL, the US has ignored the 2019 riots in Hong Kong, but piled up false stories to maliciously slander laws relevant to safeguarding national security and blatantly attack Hong Kong in safeguarding national security dutifully, faithfully and in accordance with the law. Moreover, the US has deliberately neglected the fact that the NSL has enabled the livelihood and economic activities of the Hong Kong community as well the business environment to return to normalcy. Such bullying acts and hypocrisy with double standards are utterly ugly and despicable, the Hong Kong SAR Government said. Noting it is incontrovertible that defending national security will provide a better business environment in Hong Kong, the Government reiterated that it will continue to safeguard national security fearlessly, so that the city can focus its efforts on developing the economy, improving people’s livelihood and maintaining long-term prosperity and stability. The Hong Kong SAR Government strongly urged the US House of Representatives to stop its attempts to interfere in Hong Kong safeguarding national security in accordance with the law by deploying such political tactics.
05/06/2024
The Government today said the remarks by some individuals on Hong Kong's economic and financial development have clearly overlooked the city’s existing advantages and the current positive development momentum and added that it needs to set the record straight. In a statement, the Government stressed that the real economic growth rates of the Mainland in the first quarter this year and the whole of last year were both above 5%, which are higher than the respective target, ranking it among the fastest-growing major economies in the world. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, the Mainland economy contributed to more than 30% of global economic growth. The country's innovative research and development as well as application capabilities in new economic areas such as new energy vehicles, industrial robots, artificial intelligence and green development are widely recognised worldwide. As regards Hong Kong, its economy is growing steadily as well, having achieved a positive growth rate of 3.3% in 2023. Taking on the momentum of the steady development of the economy, the real gross domestic product grew at a year-on-year rate of 2.7% in the first quarter this year and it is estimated that there will be a growth of about 2.5 to 3.5% for the whole year. The statement pointed out that Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre is being reinforced and upgraded, with the market capitalisation of Hong Kong stocks exceeding $33 trillion, 10 times of that at the time of the return to the motherland in 1997. The Stock Connect has also brought about cumulative northbound and southbound capital flows of more than 1.8 trillion renminbi and $3.1 trillion respectively. The statement added that these figures demonstrate that Hong Kong as an international financial centre has fully utilised its ability to mobilise both Mainland and foreign capital, and will continue to play a key role in helping to "bring in" international enterprises and investors, as well as assisting Mainland enterprises to "go out". Additionally, the statement emphasised that the Hong Kong stock market has also seen numerous new highlights in recent years, with the average daily transaction volume of Exchange Traded Funds on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange exceeding $13 billion in the first quarter this year, an increase of more than 70% from 2021. Regarding derivatives, the total futures trading volume reached 149 million last year. Apart from representing a 40% increase from 2021, this also reflects Hong Kong's ongoing development as an international risk management centre, it added. The statement noted that the China Securities Regulatory Commission recently announced five new measures to support the development of Hong Kong's financial sector. Besides creating a positive market atmosphere, these measures would also bring long-term structural enhancements to the Hong Kong market, such as including real estate investment trusts in the Stock Connect, further enriching the choice of products available. On wealth management, Hong Kong’s asset management scale exceeds $30.5 trillion. Plus, recent market research estimates there are over 2,700 single family offices in the city, making it an ideal location for high-net-worth asset owners to set up and develop their business. The statement indicated that the effective functioning of "one country, two systems" is the cornerstone of Hong Kong's ongoing prosperity while the Basic Law explicitly protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It also highlighted that vast opportunities lie ahead and they will attract talent and businesses to develop in Hong Kong. As of end-April, around 290,000 applications had been received under various talent admissions schemes, and around 180,000 had been approved. Over 120,000 people already arrived in Hong Kong, bringing support to the city's labour force and economic development. As of 2023, there were over 9,000 companies in Hong Kong with their headquarters in the Mainland or overseas. In attracting strategic enterprises, more than 50 companies have established or expanded business in Hong Kong or will do so in the future, and they are expected to bring over $40 billion in investment and over 13,000 job opportunities in the coming few years. The Government said it has been implementing the "one country, two systems" principle under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, in strict accordance with the Basic Law. The successful implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and Safeguarding National Security Ordinance has brought about a safe and stable environment conducive to investment and financial development, it added. A survey conducted by a major foreign chamber of commerce early this year revealed that nearly 80% of its members had confidence in the rule of law in Hong Kong, and nearly 70% of them also said the operation of their enterprises had not been affected by the security law. Furthermore, the statement revealed that the "Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" supports Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre, a global offshore RMB business hub, an international asset and risk management centre, as well as its development into a green finance centre and a platform for investment and financing serving the Belt & Road Initiative. The Government said that various data and facts not only reflect the performance of Hong Kong's economic and financial development, but more importantly highlight the city's unique advantages and strategic position under the "one country, two systems" principle, as well as its resilience and flexibility, in the face of global instability. While the external environment will remain complicated, the Mainland and Hong Kong's economic growth is steadily improving and even in a faster pace than some developed economies, it added.
05/06/2024
Police expressed strong condemnation against a statement issued by the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) that contains inaccurate content and groundless accusations regarding Police’s operation on June 4 in Causeway Bay. It noted that Police officers carried out their duties in accordance with the law in Causeway Bay yesterday, dedicated to upholding law and order and public peace, and safeguarding the life and property of citizens. Police clarified that at about 8.45pm last night, police officers found a foreign man and a woman outside SOGO Hong Kong. Given that their behaviour had attracted a large crowd of people, which might lead to a breach of the public peace, Police officers took them back to Wan Chai Police Station for investigation with their consent, and they were later released. Police noted that the action was based on their behaviour at the time and had nothing to do with their profession. Regarding an online media reporter claiming that he had been given an unreasonable warning, Police said this was not the case. The force said Police officers were conducting a stop and search operation at the scene. In view of the crowded situation, it was necessary for Police to further expand the area of operation to carry out their duties effectively. It explained that the Force Media Liaison Cadre (FMLC) was at the scene to co-ordinate and offer advice. While most of the journalists were co-operative, the online media reporter refused to co-operate and kept shouting, causing confusion. Police officers then issued a warning to him and asked him to enter the operation area to further issue a stern and clear warning. Police appealed to journalists to exercise professionalism, report and comment on news events accurately and pertinently and based on facts, and refrain from publishing false information so as to sustain their credibility in serving the community. Apart from reiterating that the force has all along respected press freedom and journalists’ right to report, Police stressed that it understands the need for journalists to report and film at the scene.  As such, without compromising operational efficiency, the force stated that it will continue to facilitate journalists’ reporting work, including the deployment of FMLC to co-ordinate at the scene. Police will also continue to communicate with the media industry to enable both sides to perform their respective functions properly.
03/06/2024
Police's National Security Department today arrested a 62-year-old man in Sha Tin for committing offences in connection with seditious intention. Last month, Police arrested six women and one man aged between 37 and 65 in various districts on suspicion of committing offences in connection with seditious intention, contravening the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance. A woman in custody had exploited an upcoming sensitive date to repeatedly publish posts with seditious intention on a social media platform anonymously with the assistance of at least seven arrested people since April 2024. Apart from content provoking hatred towards the central authorities, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Judiciary, the content of these posts also incited netizens to organise or participate in relevant illegal activities at a later stage. Investigations also revealed that one of the arrestees, a 53-year-old woman, had supported fugitive Law Kwun-chung and other individuals through an online subscription platform, with money amounting to approximately $140,000. She was suspected of committing the offence of “providing pecuniary or other financial assistance or property for the commission of secession by other persons”, contravening the Hong Kong National Security Law. The number of people arrested in the case has now increased to eight. The 62-year-old man arrested today is being detained for further enquiries, while the remaining seven arrestees, except for one woman who continues to be remanded in Tai Lam Centre for Women, have been released on bail. Police reiterated that strict enforcement actions will be taken against such illegal acts and urged the public to abide by the law.
31/05/2024
The Social Welfare Department (SWD) today reminded members of the public to stay vigilant against a bogus phone call from a person claiming to be one of its officers. The department has received enquiries from restaurants who received phone orders for food or drinks from a person claiming to be an SWD officer. The fraudster would also ask the restaurants to help order goods from other vendors and settle the payment before seeking reimbursement of the amount from them. The SWD stressed that its officers would never request the public to settle any payments. The case has been reported to Police. People are advised to stay alert to suspicious phone calls. Anyone targeted by a suspected phone scam should report it to Police immediately.
31/05/2024
Police's National Security Department today revealed that a woman who was earlier arrested on suspicion of contravening the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, is also suspected of breaching the National Security Law. The department had arrested six women and a man on May 28 and 29 on suspicion of committing offences in connection with seditious intention, contravening Section 24 of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance. Investigations revealed that a woman who was arrested on May 29 is also suspected of committing the offence of “providing pecuniary or other financial assistance or property for the commission of secession by other persons”, contravening Section 21 of the National Security Law. It was also discovered that she supported fugitive Law Kwun-chung and other individuals through an online subscription platform, with money amounting to approximately $140,000. Among the arrested people, one woman continues to be remanded in custody at the Tai Lam Centre for Women, while another five women and one man have been released on bail. Offences in connection with seditious intention are very serious crimes, carrying a maximum penalty of up to seven years' imprisonment. It is an offence for anyone to incite, assist in, abet or provide pecuniary or other financial assistance or property to another person by any means. Police reiterated that strict enforcement actions will be taken against such illegal acts and urged the public to abide by the law.
31/05/2024
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today strongly condemned and opposed the untruthful, slandering and smearing remarks made by some Western countries, anti-China organisations and politicians, and foreign media on the verdict delivered by the Court of First Instance of the Hong Kong SAR on a conspiracy to commit subversion case on May 30. The Western countries included the US, the UK, the European Union, Australia and more. In a statement tonight, the Hong Kong SAR Government said that following 118 days of open hearing and thorough consideration of the relevant legal principles, massive amount of evidence and submissions from the prosecution and the defence, the reasons for verdict delivered by the court yesterday clearly confirmed the occurrence of the offence of conspiracy to commit subversion. The proven offence was aimed at undermining, destroying or overthrowing the existing political system and structure of the Hong Kong SAR established under the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle. Such criminal acts endangering national security had nothing to do with the so-called fight for democracy and human rights. A total of 47 people were charged in the case and 45 defendants were convicted, showing the scale and the seriousness of the criminal scheme. The evidence against the other two defendants was found insufficient for the court to be sure of their participation in the conspiracy offence. The Department of Justice has already informed the court of its intention to appeal against the verdict on those two defendants. The statement pointed out that the Hong Kong SAR is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China and, as a local administrative region that enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” principle, comes directly under the jurisdiction of the Central People’s Government. The Hong Kong SAR Government also stated that the core essence of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. It did not authorise the UK to interfere in the city’s affairs after its return to the motherland. The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong after its return to the motherland. The external forces disregarded the fact, made skewed remarks about the verdict delivered by the Hong Kong SAR court by replacing the rule of law with political manipulation and confounding right and wrong, and blatantly interfered in Hong Kong’s affairs which are entirely China’s internal affairs. The external forces’ attempt to undermine the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong is doomed to fail, the Hong Kong SAR Government added. In respect of the acts of the people or entities concerned, the Hong Kong SAR law enforcement agencies have been taking law enforcement actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law, which have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation. The suggestion that certain individuals should be immune from legal consequences for their illegal acts, including the illegal act of subversion, is no different from advocating a special pass to break the law. This totally runs contrary to the spirit of the rule of law. The offences endangering national security stipulated under the National Security Law (NSL) target acts endangering national security with precision, and define the elements and penalties of the offences with clarity. On the charge of conspiracy to commit subversion, the court pointed out clearly in the reasons for verdict that, before the defendant may be convicted by the court, the prosecution has the duty to prove beyond reasonable doubt the relevant conspiratorial agreement; the defendants’ intention to carry out the unlawful means which was the subject matter of the charge; and the defendants so acted with a view to subverting the state power. The statement noted that the Hong Kong SAR courts shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference. It is extremely inappropriate for the US and some Western countries, anti-China organisations and politicians, foreign media and more to make unwarranted comments on criminal trials which are ongoing in the Hong Kong SAR courts. It is also a complete disregard for the spirit of the rule of law. In the 318-page judgment, the court clearly set out the reasons and consideration underlying the conviction, and confirmed the occurrence of the offence of conspiracy to commit subversion. The Hong Kong SAR Government strongly demands the US and some Western countries, anti-China organisations and politicians, foreign media and more to immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and Hong Kong’s affairs, and stop making baseless reports and maliciously smearing the verdict of the relevant case. It steadfastly safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests, and fully and faithfully lives up to the highest principle of “one country, two systems”. The Hong Kong SAR Government will resolutely, fully and faithfully implement the 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. It will also maintain 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 “one country, two systems” principle.
31/05/2024
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproves of and condemns the US Department of State over its proposed imposition of “visa restrictions” on People's Republic of China (PRC) and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region officials relating to the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL). It said the proposed restrictions amount to despicable political manipulation intended to intimidate PRC and Hong Kong SAR officials engaged in safeguarding national security, and are a gross interference in the internal affairs of China and Hong Kong, besides violating international law and the basic norms governing international relations. The Hong Kong SAR Government said it despises such threats and will resolutely continue to discharge the duty of safeguarding national security. It highlighted that the court verdict delivered in a conspiracy to commit subversion case on May 30 clearly confirmed that the criminal acts in the case were aimed at undermining, destroying or overthrowing the existing political system and structure of the Hong Kong SAR as established under the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle. It said such criminal acts, which endangered national security, had nothing to do with the so-called fight for democracy and human rights. In a 318-page judgment, the court clearly set out the reasons for and the considerations underlying the conviction. A total of 47 persons were charged in the case. Apart from two defendants against whom the evidence was found insufficient for the court to be sure of their participation in the conspiracy offence, the remaining 45 defendants were convicted. With regard to the other two defendants, the Department of Justice has already informed the court of its intention to appeal. The Hong Kong SAR Government iterated that Hong Kong's law enforcement agencies take actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts committed by persons or entities, and not in relation to their political stances, background or occupation. It added that the suggestion that certain individuals should be immune from legal consequences for their illegal acts, including the illegal act of subversion, amounts to advocating for a special pass to break the law, and runs contrary to the spirit of the rule of law. The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that the offences endangering national security stipulated under the NSL target acts endangering national security with precision, and define the elements and penalties of the offences with clarity. It said that on the charge of conspiracy to commit subversion, the court laid out clearly that the prosecution had a duty to prove beyond reasonable doubt the relevant conspiratorial agreement, the defendants' intention to carry out unlawful acts, and that they acted with a view to subverting the power of the state. It emphasised that the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights guarantee all defendants charged with a criminal offence the right to a fair trial by the Judiciary exercising independent judicial power free from any interference.
30/05/2024
The Government today announced that from June 1 it will regularise and expand a pilot scheme that provides immigration facilitation for visitors participating in short-term activities in 12 designated sectors.As of the end of March, more than 16,600 individuals from nearly 120 countries or regions had entered Hong Kong to participate in a range of short-term events and activities under the scheme.Five of the original sectors involved will be expanded, with 18 new authorised participating organisations being added. Upon regularisation, the scheme will be named the Immigration Facilitation Scheme for Visitors Participating in Short-term Activities in Designated Sectors. The Government explained that the scheme will continue to cover 12 sectors. These are the medical and healthcare sector; higher education; arts and culture; sports; heritage; creative industries; innovation & technology; the Hong Kong Laureate Forum; aviation; international and mega events; finance; and development and construction.  Under the scheme, some 400 organisations authorised by relevant government bureaus or departments can issue invitation letters to non-local talents in their sectors. Invited persons may come to Hong Kong and participate in designated short-term activities as visitors without the need to apply for employment visas or entry permits from the Immigration Department. The Government highlighted that the pilot scheme has been welcomed by industry participants since its launch in 2022 and has been operating in an orderly manner.  It added that the scheme is conducive to bringing together talent from around the world to Hong Kong, giving full play to the city’s strengths as a place to connect and excel under “one country, two systems”.
30/05/2024
The Court of First Instance today delivered its verdict on a conspiracy to commit subversion case and convicted 14 out of the 16 defendants who had pleaded not guilty. For two of the defendants, there was insufficient evidence for the court to be sure of their participation in the conspiracy. The Department of Justice immediately informed the court of its intention to appeal in respect of the defendants who were not convicted. The reasons for verdict pointed out that by March and April 2020, the ultimate aim and purpose of the so-called “Project 35+” had been very clear and made known to the public, ie to undermine, destroy or overthrow the existing political system and structure of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region established under the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle. The court also noted that the people concerned conspired to indiscriminately vote down the Government’s budget and public expenditure proposals after securing a majority in the Legislative Council through a so-called “primary election”, in order to compel the Government to accede to the so-called “Five Demands Not One Less” and force the Chief Executive to dissolve LegCo and ultimately resign, thus rendering the Government unable to introduce any new policies or implement existing policies on benefitting people’s livelihood. The court added that in such a way, the power and authority of both the Chief Executive and the Government would be greatly undermined, which would necessarily amount to a serious interference in, disruption of or undermining of the performance of duties and functions in accordance with the law by the Hong Kong SAR’s body of power, subverting state power. Moreover, during the trial, evidence adduced in the court revealed that the people concerned put forward the “10 steps to mutual destruction” which would bring Hong Kong society to a standstill through large-scale street riots as well as other means. Coupled with international political and economic sanctions, “mutual destruction” would be achieved, causing suffering to the public. Chief Executive John Lee said the verdict showed that the court confirmed the occurrence of the offence of conspiracy to commit subversion, which aimed at undermining, destroying or overthrowing the existing political system and structure of the Hong Kong SAR established under the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle. “A total of 47 people were charged in the case. Apart from the two defendants, against whom the evidence was found insufficient for the court to be sure of their participation in the conspiracy offence, the rest of the 45 defendants were convicted, showing the scale and the seriousness of the criminal scheme.” Mr Lee also stressed that it is the Hong Kong SAR’s duty to safeguard national security. “We will fight resolutely against acts and activities endangering national security. In this regard, the Hong Kong SAR Government will ensure that laws are observed and strictly enforced, and will do our utmost to prevent, suppress and impose punishment for acts and activities endangering national security to fulfil this justified responsibility.” Separately, the Government said that during the trial, external forces blatantly smeared the Judiciary, the Department of Justice and the law enforcement department, and even created pressure through intimidatory political means and misleading remarks, in an attempt to interfere with the fair trial. Describing this a despicable attempt, the Government strongly condemned this flagrant trample on the rule of law.

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