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Police today clarified that online messages claiming that district police stations are giving out free face masks to the public are false. The force also dismissed claims that the Government will supply a large amount of face masks to family members of police officers and said it must quash such misinformation. Police said it pledges to stand firm and join hands with people from all walks of life to fight the battle against the epidemic.
Customs today seized 68,000 surgical masks with suspected false manufacturing date from a pharmacy in Mong Kok and arrested one person. The items carry an estimated market value of about $380,000. Customs officers seized the masks with the false manufacturing date of March 2020 from a pharmacy on Nelson Street and arrested a 27-year-old man in charge of the shop. The masks were packed in boxes, each containing 50 pieces priced at $280. Customs will look into the sources of the seizure and send samples to the Government Laboratory for safety tests. The department launched the citywide special operation on January 27 to inspect retail spots in different districts that sell surgical masks. So far, more than 1,300 of these spots have been inspected. Customs reminded people to pay attention to the information on the mask packages, including the manufacturing and expiry dates, and check them for any dirt or signs of use before making purchases. They are also advised to purchase masks at reputable shops. The public can report suspected violations by calling 2545 6182 or by email.
Customs launched a large-scale city-wide special operation on January 27 to conduct spot checks and inspections in various districts on surgical masks available on the market. About 200 customs officers checked the masks to see if they comply with the Trade Descriptions Ordinance and Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance. As of today, inspections were conducted at over 180 retail spots selling masks. The checks focused on three aspects, namely false origin claims, non-compliance with consumer goods safety standards and false trademarks. The operation is ongoing, the department explained, adding that announcements will be made if any irregularities are found. Customs said it attaches great importance to public safety and consumer rights and reminded traders not to sell products with false origins or trademarks or unsafe goods. People should also make purchases at reputable shops. The public can report suspected violations by calling 2545 6182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customs today refuted Internet rumours claiming that the Government has listed face mask products as prohibited articles after taking into account political considerations. It clarified that these rumours are unfounded. Since surgical masks are not included in the list of controlled and prohibited items, Customs said it would not hinder its legal importation into Hong Kong. Customs has been making use of risk-profiling and intelligence analysis to carry out customs clearance over passenger, cargo, conveyance and postal articles at various control points to combat the import and export of controlled and prohibited items, it added. Click here for more information.
Police today strongly condemned rioters’ violent and illegal acts, which endangered public safety. In a statement, Police said masked rioters gathering in Mong Kok paralysed traffic by building barricades with trash near Portland Street at 10pm on January 25. In response, police officers had to take enforcement actions to halt the unlawful road blockage. At 11pm, when Police were preparing to leave after law enforcement actions, some rioters threw glass bottles and miscellaneous objects at a police vehicle. Police used a tear gas grenade to combat the rioters’ violence. At 11.30pm, some rioters built barricades with wooden boards and roadside trash at the junction of Nathan Road and Shan Tung Street. Police officers arrived at the scene to take enforcement actions and to remove the barricades. The force strongly condemned these violent and illegal acts. Police reiterated that they always respect people's freedom and rights to express their views peacefully.
Hong Kong will impose restrictions on all Hubei Province residents and people who visited the province in the past 14 days from entering the city. The decision was announced after Chief Executive Carrie Lam convened a meeting of the Steering Committee & Command Centre about the novel coronavirus today. As the outbreak is mainly found and the situation is getting more severe in Hubei Province, Hubei residents and people who visited the province in the past 14 days, except for Hong Kong residents, will not be permitted to enter Hong Kong from January 27 until further notice. To facilitate the implementation of the measure, all self-service clearance channels at control points will only be open to Hong Kong residents. Non-Hong Kong residents will have to use normal immigration counters for immigration clearance. Mrs Lam on January 25 announced the activation of the emergency response level under the Preparedness & Response Plan for Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance and rolled out strategies and measures to tackle the disease. Given the confirmed cases in Hong Kong are imported ones, the Government has enhanced immigration control to contain the virus’ spread. The Steering Committee & Command Centre is monitoring the development of the disease and listening to the advice of experts to study measures that can further reduce the chances of infected people entering the city. At the meeting, it also considered that the restriction on Hubei residents and visitors should be imposed as soon as possible before the formulation of other more comprehensive measures.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam and senior officials today expressed shock and sadness over the passing of three customs officers while carrying out their duties in waters off Sha Chau. Currently on a duty visit in Davos, Switzerland, Mrs Lam extended her deepest condolences to the officers’ families. “The Hong Kong Customs is entrusted with the important tasks of law enforcement and customs control, including dangerous duties such as combating smuggling and drug trafficking. “Customs officers have always been fearless and dedicated to serving the public with professionalism. I am profoundly grieved by the unfortunate loss of three Customs colleagues who were on duty last night.” The Civil Service Bureau and the Customs & Excise Department will make every effort to support the families, Mrs Lam added. Deeply saddened by the officers’ death, Secretary for Security John Lee said the Government and the department will render their family members full support and assistance to help them tide over this difficult time. Commissioner of Customs & Excise Hermes Tang said five officers fell into the sea from a customs vessel at around 9pm yesterday in waters off Sha Chau. They were rescued by fire services and marine police officers and sent to North Lantau and Tuen Mun hospitals, but three were later certified dead. Mr Tang said the cause of the incident is under investigation, adding that the department has been in touch with the deceased officers' families and would make every effort to help them. On behalf of the civil service, Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law offered his deepest condolences to the families concerned, adding that the bureau will offer them all the assistance they may require. The Chief Executive and senior officials also sent their regards to the two officers injured in the incident and wished them a speedy recovery.
The Republic of Kenya will grant entry visas upon arrival to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport holders, the Immigration Department announced today. HKSAR passport holders may also apply for an online e-visa for Kenya. Hong Kong tourists can stay in the country for up to three months. Noting that Kenya is along the Belt & Road, the department said under the Belt & Road Initiative, the visa-on-arrival arrangement would bring greater travel convenience to HKSAR passport holders visiting Kenya and strengthen the tourism, cultural and economic ties between the two places. This arrangement brings to 168 the number of countries and territories that grant visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders. Those wishing to visit the country are advised to consult the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in the People's Republic of China before travelling.
The Government today expressed regret over unfounded allegations against the Commissioner of Police and the Force by a number of Tsuen Wan District Council members. The allegations were conveyed during today’s meeting held in the hope of enhancing communication with the District Council as well as strengthening ties and understanding between Police and the district. In a statement, the Home Affairs Bureau explained that the Government walked out of the meeting after District Council members also used insulting words. The Government urged those concerned to focus on livelihood issues and discuss matters rationally. The Government hopes that it can work with the District Council under the principle of mutual respect and rational discussion, the statement added.
The Immigration Department estimates about 5.94 million travellers will pass through Hong Kong’s boundary control points during the Lunar New Year holiday. Among them, 4.42 million passengers are expected to pass through land boundary control points. Outbound passengers using these control points will be relatively higher on January 26, with 367,000 people expected, and the number of inbound passengers using these control points will peak on January 28 and reach 451,000. Lo Wu Control Point will see an estimated 1.38 million passengers, or a daily average of 196,000, passing through. The daily average passenger forecasts for the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Shenzhen Bay control points are 106,000 and 98,000. The department, Police, Customs and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation will set up a joint command centre at Lo Wu Control Point to ensure smooth passenger traffic flow.