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The Security Bureau expressed deep regret over a misleading and fact-twisting commentary written by Lun Chi-wai and published by Ming Pao today on the control of cannabidiol (CBD) through legislation and the Government's anti-drug work. It said the article pays no regard to the anti-drug efforts contributed by different sectors over the years and misinterprets the well-proven zero tolerance policy towards drugs. “When commenting on the publication of a gazette notice for bringing CBD under the control of the First Schedule to the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the article seriously distorts the intent of safeguarding public health by controlling CBD through legislation, and purposely misinterprets such legislation as relating to the policy of the Mainland, which may sow discord between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” The bureau also pointed out that the Government has repeatedly explained the hazards of CBD and its scientific justifications for controlling the substance as a dangerous drug to the Legislative Council, members of the public and the sectors concerned, while the welfare sector has also voiced its support. “The article turns a blind eye to these facts, downplays the harmful effects caused by drug abuse and irrationally associates our legislation with the Mainland. “The content may cause dissention between the two places and may confuse the public as well as affect their vigilance against drugs,” it noted. Regarding the article's suggestion that the legislation to prohibit ketamine in Hong Kong in early years was mainly following the practices overseas, the bureau said it is a misleading claim disregarding the determination to restrain drug harm by the Government and the community as well as the nature of ketamine as a dangerous drug. With everyone's concerted efforts, the number of ketamine abusers has decreased over the years, it added. Furthermore, the bureau emphasised that the welfare sector has been a key partner of the Government on anti-drug work for many years and that it is grateful for the sector's contribution and support. It believes that the sector is professionally capable of making a judgement and will not blindly support the Government's anti-drug efforts and policies. The bureau said: “The article, which questions the welfare sector, not only affects the morale of the workers in the anti-drug sector, but also arouses suspicion of inciting the sector to question the Government's anti-drug efforts or to pull back its support. “As a member of the welfare sector, the author's disregard of public well-being and groundless speculation are disappointing.” The Government hopes the community can be united in the fight against drugs, adding that all discussions of anti-drug policies should be based on facts. It said it will continue to educate the public on the harm caused by drugs, including cannabis and ketamine, and will work on the publicity on controlling CBD as a dangerous drug from February 1 next year. The bureau also expressed grave concern about the misleading content published by Ming Pao recently, including the commentary on how the Immigration Department handles the screening of trafficking in persons cases and the newspaper cartoon about police officers' handling of requests for assistance by schools.
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today attended the inaugural event of the Security Bureau volunteer programme Sunshine Buddies. The bureau established the Volunteer Services Team to support at least 100 children from new arrival families in 2022-23. In addition to enhancing their abilities and broadening their horizons, the goal of the scheme is to encourage them to join the Government after growing up according to the Indicators for Specified Tasks of the Chief Executive's 2022 Policy Address. Attending the activity at the Police College in Wong Chuk Hang, Mr Tang said the bureau attaches great importance to youth development. The volunteer programme was launched to fully complement the Strive & Rise Programme, working together to deepen the work concerning youth by enhancing their personal development and positive thinking. Mr Tang, together with members of the newly established Volunteer Services Team and their family members, met about 80 new arrival Primary 5 to Secondary 3 students and aside from having lunch with them, he shared his work and growth experiences with the group. Meanwhile, the participants got to know each other through games and while visiting the Tactical Training Complex and the Barrack Blocks at the Police College. They also had the opportunity to examine a display of police equipment and speak with recruit police constables. The Sunshine Buddies programme is running with one-year modules. Diverse activities will be held each month in the coming year, including visits to different disciplined services and government institutions, historical and cultural exploration, adventure training activities and community work. Job shadowing will also be arranged for students to experience a day of work with the bureau’s senior officials so that they will have a chance to explore and learn about the workplace, inspiring them to think about their future and plan for personal development and encouraging them to join the Government when they grow up. At present, about 100 staff from different grades have joined the Volunteer Services Team.
The Police Recruitment Centre, located on 1/F Arsenal House of Police Headquarters in Wan Chai, officially opened today, the force announced. The recruitment centre aims to provide the public with an additional channel to learn about police work and obtain recruitment information, Police said, noting that prospective police officers can get prepared for the selection process by joining a face-to-face consultation and experience session there. An on-site interview, written examination or interview appointment, eye-sight test, handgrip strength test, recruitment-related enquiry service and virtual reality simulated shooting experience are also available, the force added. The centre opens from 11am to 8pm between Tuesdays and Saturdays, and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Mondays, the New Year’s Day, the first to third day of the Lunar New Year, Easter, Christmas and the day after Christmas. Interested groups or schools may email the centre for enquiries and reservations.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly opposed the US Government's untruthful accusation against the court verdict on the fraud case involving Lai Chee-ying, which was given in accordance with the law. While noting it would not be appropriate to comment on the details of the case as the legal proceedings are ongoing, the Hong Kong SAR Government said in a statement that it strongly objects to the US Government's remarks which deviate from the truth and are purely politically oriented. All law enforcement actions taken by the law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people concerned, and have absolutely nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation, the statement said. The Department of Justice controls criminal prosecutions free from any interference by virtue of Article 63 of the Basic Law, and all prosecutorial decisions are based on objective assessment of all admissible evidence and applicable laws. The Judiciary exercises judicial power independently in accordance with the law, and everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to a fair hearing. The Hong Kong SAR Government has been steadfastly upholding the rights and freedoms enjoyed by its residents as protected under the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, including press freedom and freedom of speech, the statement noted. It also pointed out that, as internationally recognised, freedom of speech and press freedom are not absolute, and people who claim to be engaged in journalism, like other people, cannot be exempted from their obligation to abide by the law, in particular criminal law. Foreign politicians who deliberately turn a blind eye to the reasons for the court verdict and make unfair and biased comments on it based merely on the outcomes of cases that are not in line with their political interests, not only reveal their ignorance, cowardice, unfairness, arrogance and disregard of the law, but also make their attempts futile, the statement added. The Hong Kong SAR Government said that since the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the US Government has been exploiting different incidents and making up excuses to slander the security law and attack China and the Hong Kong SAR in their dutiful, faithful and lawful implementation of the security law, laying bare its overbearing and domineering attitude. The thinking of the US Government that to repeat a lie numerous times will turn it into a truth simply reflects its malicious and ill intent, the statement emphasised, adding that since the implementation of the National Security Law, Hong Kong has moved from chaos to stability, and is steadily heading from stability to prosperity. Hong Kong has the irreplaceably distinct advantages of enjoying the strong support of the motherland and being closely connected to the world. Any attempt by external forces to undermine its prosperity and stability by slandering the rule of law and freedoms in the Hong Kong SAR will only expose their weakness and faulty arguments. The Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to discharge its duty to steadfastly safeguard "one country, two systems" to better serve our citizens and promote Hong Kong's progress, it added.
The majority of the Hong Kong people lured to Southeast Asian countries and detained there to engage in illegal work have safely returned to the city with the aid of its law enforcement agencies. Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung made the statement in reply to questions from legislator Starry Lee in the Legislative Council today. Mr Tang noted that sporadic requests for assistance were received early this year on incidents of Hong Kong residents suspected to have been lured to Southeast Asian countries and detained there to engage in illegal work. He said law enforcement agencies have so far received 46 relevant requests and noted that 40 Hong Kong residents are confirmed to be safe and 30 of them have safely returned to the city and seven do not require further assistance. A task force set up by the Security Bureau to co-ordinate follow-up actions by law enforcement agencies is actively assisting the remaining three to return to Hong Kong, he added. The Organized Crime & Triad Bureau of Police has taken up the investigation. So far, 10 people were arrested for conspiracy to defraud and three of them have been charged.
One more Hong Kong resident who had sought assistance from the Immigration Department safely returned to Hong Kong from Cambodia today, the Security Bureau said. The individual concerned returned to the city with the aid of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia and the bureau's dedicated task force. So far, 19 assistance seekers have returned to Hong Kong under the co-ordination of the task force. The bureau urged people to contact the Immigration Department as soon as possible if they know or have received information of victims in need of help. They may use the WhatsApp hotline 5190 8909, contact the department's Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit at (852) 1868, call the 1868 hotline by network data via the department's mobile app or submit an Online Assistance Request Form.
One more Hong Kong resident who had sought help from the Immigration Department safely returned to Hong Kong from Cambodia, the Security Bureau said today. The assistance seeker returned to the city last night with the aid of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia and the bureau's dedicated task force. So far, 18 assistance seekers have returned to Hong Kong under the task force's co-ordination. The bureau urged people to contact the Immigration Department as soon as possible if they know or have received information of victims in need of help. They may use the WhatsApp hotline 5190 8909, contact the department's Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit at (852) 1868, call the 1868 hotline by network data via the department's mobile app or submit an Online Assistance Request Form.
Hong Kong registered an increase in total crime cases in the first three quarters of 2022 compared to the same period last year, Police said today. A total of 49,927 crimes were recorded, showing an increase of 2,087 cases or 4.4% when compared with 47,840 cases in the same period of 2021. The overall crime increase is mainly due to the rise of over 5,000 deception cases. However, there were substantial decreases in major crimes including robbery, burglary, rape, wounding and serious assault, snatching, pickpocketing. During the same period of comparison, there were 6,465 cases of violent crime, a decrease of 10%. The detection rate of overall crimes was 31%. The number of deception cases rose 39.7% to 19,444 cases, over 70% of which were Internet-related. A two-fold increase was recorded for employment fraud, including reports in which citizens have fallen prey to online high remuneration job scams and lured to Southeast Asian countries to engage in illegal activities. Investment fraud, telephone deception and online shopping fraud registered a soar ranging from 40% to a one-fold increase. Huge losses were involved in investment fraud and telephone deception cases, which were over $1.2 billion and $700 million respectively. As at end-September, Police arrested a total of 210 people in its efforts to enforce the National Security Law and more than half of them have been charged. While noting that the law and order situation during the period remained stable, Police said it will continue to spare no effort in combatting crime. Stakeholders and the public should stay alert and proactively report crimes they have witnessed, Police added.
The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department said today that it achieved initial results in combatting illegal shop front extensions effectively after it conducted joint enforcement operations with Police in various districts. It pointed out that such operations have been taking place since October 3 in Tuen Mun, Sha Tin, Tai Po, Southern and Wong Tai Sin districts. To sum up the past week from October 11 to 16, the department explained that in addition to issuing 56 fixed penalty notices and nine summonses against the shops for causing obstructions and cleanliness offences in public places, it also removed about 4.66 tonnes of waste. Furthermore, two people were arrested during the enforcement operations for illegal hawking and causing an obstruction in a public place by the related shops, and about 108kg of related commodities were seized. Moreover, a total of 35 warning notices, which require the owners of the articles to remove the obstructions within a specified time, were issued by Police. Among these, 10 warning notices had yet to be complied with and as a consequence, the department removed about 771kg of goods or articles involved. Additionally, the department has taken out summon action against a licensed fresh provision shop for contravention of the Food Business Regulation during the past week's joint operations. It involves extending the business area without permission at or from any place beyond the confines of the food premises as delineated on the plan approved in respect of the licence. The main focus of the second month of the Government Programme on Tackling Hygiene Black Spots is to combat hygiene black spots with illegal shop front extensions leading to street obstructions. The Government appeals to shop operators and other stakeholders not to extend their business areas illegally by placing goods or articles in public places or on carriageways causing an obstruction to pedestrian and vehicular flow. The department added that it, along with Police, will continue to closely monitor and take stringent enforcement actions to tackle the city’s shop front extension problem.
The Security Bureau today said the Guangdong Nuclear Emergency Committee Office notified it about an operational event at Ling Ao Nuclear Power Station (LNPS). On October 15, unit 4 of LNPS shut down safely and automatically due to activation of the unit's protection system. The bureau explained that during an inspection, station staff found that the cause of the shutdown was a fault in a flow control board of the main feed water system in the secondary loop. They have now completed the repair work and the unit has resumed normal operation. Throughout the event, the unit remained in a safe and controlled condition. The bureau said the event was classified as a level 0 deviation in accordance with the International Nuclear & Radiological Event Scale, adding that it did not affect the unit’s safe operation, workers’ health, nearby public or the environment.