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Chief Justice Andrew Cheung today gave an upbeat assessment on the recruitment of suitable retired judges from other jurisdictions to serve in Hong Kong, following a successful experience last year. Addressing media questions about finding foreign judges for the Court of Final Appeal (CFA), the chief justice said Mr Justice Patrick Keane, an Australia justice who was appointed a CFA Non-Permanent Judge last year, has been well-satisfied with his experience in Hong Kong. “The views of foreign countries, particularly western countries, regarding the state of the rule of law in Hong Kong, are of course of some importance to people living in those countries, particularly potential judges or retired judges who might be invited to join our Court of Final Appeal as foreign judges, but I am very happy to say that, take last year as an example, we were very happy and pleased to be able to appoint a new Non-Permanent Judge from Australia. “Mr Justice Patrick Keane, before his retirement last year, sat on the highest court in Australia. “He joined our Court of Final Appeal last year and he sat in several appeals heard last year. From my interaction with him, he is very satisfied with the experience. “Now we are continuing with our efforts to recruit suitable retired judges from other jurisdictions to join our court here in Hong Kong.”
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan today led a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region delegation to participate in a forum in Urumqi, Xinjiang, to promote Hong Kong's ties with Xinjiang and Uzbekistan. After a visit to an Uzbekistan product fair, Mr Cheung attended the opening ceremony of the forum. He then called on Standing Committee Member of the CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional Committee and Executive Vice Chairman of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Chen Weijun. Mr Cheung said that Hong Kong, with distinctive advantages of enjoying the strong support of the motherland and close connection to the world under the "one country, two systems" principle, is playing the roles of super connector and super value-adder for the Belt & Road countries and regions. He added that as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre practising common law, one of the most preferred seats for arbitration worldwide and also a key link for the Belt & Road Initiative, Hong Kong is well positioned to build with other regions a system of fair, reasonable and transparent international trade rules. Mr Cheung also mentioned the nine mutual legal assistance arrangements Hong Kong has with the Mainland, including the Mainland Judgments in Civil & Commercial Matters (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance that will come into force by the end of this month. It will be conducive to businesses choosing Hong Kong as the seat of arbitration and adopting Hong Kong law as the applicable law for their contracts, enabling the city to contribute to the national development, he explained. Yesterday, Mr Cheung joined a group meeting with Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Jamshid Khodjayev and attended a banquet where he noted that the merchandise trade between Hong Kong and Uzbekistan amounted to $6 billion in 2022, a nearly 17-fold increase over 2021.
Police's National Security Department today laid a holding charge against a 35-year-old man on one count of committing an act or acts with seditious intent. The case will be mentioned at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts this afternoon. The man was arrested in Sha Tin yesterday on suspicion of committing an act or acts with seditious intent, in contravention of Sections 9 and 10 of the Crimes Ordinance. A police investigation determined that he is suspected of repeatedly publishing posts with seditious intent on social platforms by way of content provoking hatred towards the central authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Officers searched his residence with a court warrant and seized electronic communication devices that he had used to publish the messages. Police emphasised that acts committed with seditious intent are a serious crime liable to two years’ imprisonment on first conviction.
The Fire Services Department has expressed profound sadness at the passing of fireman Yau Yiu-man, who died during a rescue operation following a traffic accident today. Mr Yau, aged 49, was attached to the Penny’s Bay Fire Station. He collapsed while attending the scene of a traffic accident this morning. His colleague, who was also at the scene, immediately provided emergency care to him. He was rushed to hospital at 12.06pm and passed away at 3.08pm. Director of Fire Services Andy Yeung said he felt deep grief at the death of Mr Yau, who has been a member of the department for over 31 years. “Mr Yau’s performance was excellent. He was awarded the Hong Kong Fire Services Long Service Medal – First Clasp, a certificate of appreciation, by the Chief Secretary, and the Senior Commander’s Commendation. “On behalf of all our colleagues, I offer the deepest condolences to his family.” Welfare officer of the department are closely liaising with Mr Yau’s family and will render its utmost assistance in help them through this sad and difficult time, Mr Yeung added.
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan, as head of a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region delegation, will depart for Urumqi, Xinjiang tomorrow to attend a forum on China-Uzbekistan co-operation. Mr Cheung said Hong Kong's participation in the forum, with national support, demonstrates the city's commitment to contributing to the development of the Belt & Road Initiative. The Hong Kong SAR delegation includes representatives from the Office of the Hong Kong SAR Government in Beijing, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the business sector. Mr Cheung will return to Hong Kong on January 22.
The Immigration Department today announced the introduction of electronic services for Certificate of Registered Particulars applications. From now on, people can apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars online and choose to receive the certificate by post, without having to attend a Registration of Persons Office in person. Under the Registration of Persons Ordinance, an identity card holder can apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars showing the particulars registered in his or her identity card records, such as name, residential address, date of birth, place of birth, marital status and name of spouse. Moreover, under four circumstances, the department may issue a Certificate of Registered Particulars in respect of a deceased person to the relative or next-of-kin of the deceased showing the particulars registered in the deceased person's identity card records. Those circumstances are: application for a Certificate of Entitlement for the deceased's natural child; burial arrangements or relocation of a burial site for the deceased; emigration arrangements; and administration of the deceased's estate. The department reminded applicants that they are required to register an iAM Smart+ account and perform a digital signing with legal backing before they can apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars online.The applicant can complete the application process through the department's mobile application, or by visiting its website or the GovHK website without having to visit a Registration of Persons office. Call 2824 6111, send an email or fax 2877 7711 for enquiries.
The Financial Secretary’s Office today appealed for heightened vigilance against online deceptive advertisements purported to be interviews with the finance chief. It recently noticed that a number of deceptive advertisements and webpages carrying the Financial Secretary’s name and news photos have appeared on social media and online news portals. Such advertisements lure users to click on them and be taken to suspicious transaction platforms. The office made it clear that the so-called interviews and remarks are all fictitious and have been reported to Police for investigation. It urged the public not to visit any suspicious websites via such advertisements or provide personal information to unknown websites in order to forestall losses.
Police announced today that starting January 2, its Anti-Deception Coordination Centre (ADCC) will expand the Upstream Scam Intervention scheme to include sending SMS messages to potential scam victims as a means to provide timely alerts and advice. The force explained that the goal behind the move is to combat deception and minimise its impact on individuals and society. The ADCC has registered with the Office of the Communications Authority’s Short Message Service Sender Registration Scheme. Its Registered SMS Sender ID is #ADCC18222. The Upstream Scam Intervention scheme was launched in May 2023 in collaboration with 12 retail banks to enhance the efficacy of preventing deception and mitigating losses suffered by scam victims. By analysing suspicious bank accounts, the scheme identifies individuals who may be at risk of falling victim to scams. Through co-ordinated efforts between the banks and Police, potential victims will be contacted via phone calls, police visits or SMS. During such interactions, the ADCC or bank officers will provide potential victims with information such as details of the implicated bank accounts so as to facilitate the potential victims’ verification and assessment. As of end-November last year, 579 ongoing deception cases were intervened under the scheme. Police reiterate that officers and bank staff will never request the disclosure of personal information or banking credentials. Furthermore, they will not ask users to transfer funds to any accounts during these interactions. To verify callers’ identities, the public can call their banks or the ADCC directly. They are also encouraged to use the Scameter to check if the recipient bank accounts are associated with reported scams.
The Correctional Services Department today condemned Tony Chung for violating his supervision order and fleeing to the UK where he plans to seek asylum. Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Services (Rehabilitation & Management) Leung Kin-ip told a press conference that under the supervision requirement, the supervisee should inform the supervising officer of the duration and specific period he will leave Hong Kong, as well as the destination. “For this case, he had already mentioned that he will leave Hong Kong from 20 to 25 of this month. But he failed to return, and he originally told us he will go to Japan, but finally, everybody knows, he is now in the UK. “For his irresponsible behaviour, we really condemn it, and he will face the result as we will recall him back to prison to serve the remaining sentence.”
The Department of Justice today published “Annotations of the Hong Kong National Security Law and sedition offences in the Crimes Ordinance”, which collates and summarises court cases relating to the National Security Law and sections 9 and 10 of the Crimes Ordinance, on its website. The department said the annotations aim to promote a better understanding of the National Security Law and the crime of sedition among all sectors of the community, and to raise public awareness of national security. Highlighting that all judicial decisions in national security cases are made public in an open and transparent manner, the department added that it had prepared case summaries of these decisions and compiled a compendium of annotations to serve as a convenient tool for promoting national security education and conducting legal research on national security laws. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam said: “This body of case law helps us understand the requirements of our national security laws and how they are being applied by the courts.” In addition, the department today also uploaded “Basic Law: Selected Drafting Materials & Significant Cases” to its website for public access. This publication includes selected drafting materials, details of cases relating to the Basic Law, and interpretations of the Basic Law made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the Basic Law. By providing a more complete record of the Basic Law’s formulation and implementation, the department believes the publication can help the community to acquire a correct understanding of the relationship between the Constitution and the Basic Law.