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The National Anthem Ordinance was published in the Gazette and came into effect today. The Government said the core legislative principle of the ordinance is to promote respect for the national anthem, which is the symbol and sign of the country, and provide guidance on the standard, etiquette and occasions for playing and singing the national anthem. It prohibits and imposes penalties for the misuse of the national anthem or its lyrics or score, and public and intentional acts to insult the song. There is no cause for concern of breaching the law inadvertently if one does not misuse the national anthem or its lyrics or score, nor has any public and intentional act to insult the song, the Government said. The Government added it will strengthen publicity and educational efforts of the national anthem. It has set up a dedicated webpage to inform the public about the content of the ordinance and provide the standard scores and official recordings of the song for occasions during which it must be played and sung. It will also launch promotional videos on social media platforms, government websites and electronic media. Meanwhile, the Education Bureau will update its learning and teaching materials to educate students on the history and spirit of the national anthem and the etiquette for playing and singing the song. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress added the Law of the People's Republic of China on National Anthem to Annex III to the Basic Law on November 4, 2017. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility to implement the National Anthem Law locally in accordance with Article 18 of the Basic Law.
Police have arrested 35 people for taking part in unlawful assemblies in several districts this evening. The 24 men and 11 women were arrested for offences including wounding, unlawful assembly, participating in an unauthorised assembly, disorder in public places and possession of offensive weapons. Crowds gathered and behaved in a disorderly manner in Causeway Bay, Yuen Long, Mong Kok and Kwun Tong. Some of the participants threw hard objects from a height in Shantung Street, Mong Kok with police officers as their assault targets. After repeated warnings went unheard, officers conducted dispersal and arrest operations. Police made it clear they do not condone any illegal violent acts and will take resolute law enforcement action against anyone who commits illegal acts.
The Security Bureau has made preparations for the national security law to be enforced in Hong Kong, Secretary for Security John Lee said today. Mr Lee told reporters after attending the Legislative Council meeting that the responsible law enforcement agency must be prepared once the law is enacted in the city and that such preparations include securing ample manpower. He said: "We will have to wait for the law to be written and then promulgated and then we will know what exactly the law will say. "But it is important for the law enforcement agency to get prepared now with the number of people to be ready to discharge their duties as required by the law. It is because once the law is promulgated, then it becomes effective law. So the responsible law enforcement agency will have to get prepared now." Mr Lee emphasised that he is confident Police will quickly develop the skills and knowledge needed to enforce the law and explained that recruitment of new personnel will be based on needs. "The number of people will have to be decided according to the need. We are making preparations but we have to look at the exact law, to see what will be required of the law enforcement agencies to do, so as to actually decide on the number of people. "As regards preparation, we have already been starting to look into what personal qualities, what experience will be required of the people who will be working in this new set-up unit." Besides setting up a new unit, Police will launch training to ensure officers are prepared to enforce the new law, he said. "We of course will be liaising with counterparts in the Mainland, to see how training can be done with their assistance. In fact in the same way as the Police go about counter-terrorism, the Police will be making opportunities to learn from counterparts overseas. “So they will have of course a lot of things to do but I have good faith in their ability to discharge their function effectively." Mr Lee added that the Government will explain more details once the national security law is made public.
The total number of reported drug abusers fell 13% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020, the Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN) announced today. However, the committee noted that the figure might have been affected by the COVID-19 situation, as reporting agencies might have come into contact with fewer drug abusers due to the pandemic. According to Central Registry of Drug Abuse (CRDA) figures, the total number of drug abusers for the first quarter of the year was 1,896, while the number of drug abusers aged under 21 fell 15% to 138 compared with the same period last year. Figures showed that the total number of reported narcotic analgesic abusers increased 5% to 1,128 year-on-year. The total number of reported psychotropic substance abusers also fell 27% to 969 for the period. Heroin remained the most common type of drug abused, with the number of reported abusers increasing 5% year-on-year to 1,126. The number of reported cannabis abusers decreased 13% year-on-year to 159. For reported young drug abusers aged below 21, cannabis remained the most popular type of psychotropic substance abused, although the number of abusers decreased 14% to 62 year-on-year. “As revealed by the figures of the CRDA, cannabis abuse among young people calls for attention. Parents are encouraged to learn and understand the harm of cannabis together with their children,” ACAN Chairman Dr Ben Cheung said. With the summer holiday approaching, the Narcotics Division and ACAN will step up anti-drug publicity on the harm of cannabis and the importance to resist its temptations.
Police today urged the public not to participate in unauthorised assemblies and prohibited group gatherings. Police issued the statement after noticing that some people have been calling on the public to take part in an unauthorised assembly under the pretext of a religious gathering on Hong Kong Island on June 12. The force pointed out that not all religious activities are exempted from the Prevention & Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation. They explained that gatherings during a religious activity are exempted only if held at premises constructed or regularly used as a place of worship. Police reiterated that anyone participating in such events may be found guilty of taking part in an unauthorised assembly in accordance with the Public Order Ordinance and liable to a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. They emphasised that engaging in public gatherings will also increase the risk of transmission of the virus in the community and those doing so may commit certain offences under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation. Police stressed that they will deploy adequate manpower in relevant locations and take resolute action to enforce the law, including making arrests. Additionally, Police noted that a large group of protesters behaved in a disorderly manner and blocked roads while gathered in Central last night. In the small hours, Police arrested 53 people, consisting of 36 males and 17 females, for unlawful assembly and participating in an unauthorised assembly.
Police today urged the public not to participate in unauthorised assemblies and prohibited group gatherings. Police issued the statement after noticing that some netizens have been calling on the public to take part in unauthorised assemblies on Hong Kong Island tonight. The force reiterated that anyone participating in such events may be found guilty of taking part in an unauthorised assembly in accordance with the Public Order Ordinance and liable to a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. They emphasised that engaging in public gatherings will also increase the risk of transmission of the virus in the community and may commit certain offences under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation. Police believe that such unauthorised assemblies and prohibited group gatherings will likely cause serious obstruction to traffic on Hong Kong Island, potentially leading to delays in emergency services. They will take into consideration different traffic conditions and implement temporary route diversion as well as traffic control measures accordingly. Road users should watch out for any incidents that may occur in different districts and avoid affected areas, while drivers should follow instructions given by police officers and steer clear of dangerous areas. Police will conduct risk assessments and cordon off the Legislative Council Road, Lung Wui Road, Tamar Park, the footbridge connecting the Admiralty Centre and the Central Government Offices, as well as the footbridge connecting CITIC Tower, when necessary. The force also noted that some rioters have been inciting others on the Internet to attack police officers using petrol bombs in an attempt to force Police to deploy tear gas. Police strongly condemn such malicious and irresponsible messages that encourage the use of violence, adding that they do not condone any violent acts. Police stressed that they will deploy adequate manpower in relevant locations and take resolute action to enforce the law, including making arrests.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today strongly condemned the call by a group for holding a strike and class boycott as a referendum to oppose the National People's Congress’ (NPC) decision on the national security law in Hong Kong. In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government appealed to the public for their full understanding and staunch support for the legislation of the national security law in the city. The statement said Hong Kong is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China and a local administrative region that comes directly under the Central People’s Government and enjoys a high degree of autonomy. Safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s constitutional requirement as well as the Hong Kong SAR Government’s duty and is also in the interest of all Hong Kong residents. The constitutionality, lawfulness and reasonableness of formulating at the national level the legal framework for national security for the Hong Kong SAR is beyond doubt. The law for the Hong Kong SAR to safeguard national security, to be introduced by the NPC Standing Committee as authorised under the decision, targets four types of activities or acts that seriously jeopardise national security. They are secession, subversion, organising and carrying out terrorist activities as well as interference in the Hong Kong SAR’s affairs by foreign and external forces. Such laws target the very small minority of people who participate in acts or activities which seriously undermine national security. They will not affect the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by the vast majority of Hong Kong residents under the law, including freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of demonstration and of procession. Moreover, the national security law will better maintain safety and stability in society and ensure that Hong Kong becomes a safer and more stable city, making it conducive to maintaining a favourable environment for business and investment. All relevant law enforcement will be conducted strictly in accordance with the law as well as statutory powers and procedures. The statement noted that since last year, some people have been advocating openly for Hong Kong independence, self-determination and referendum, participating in acts of secession or activities which clearly undermine national unity as well as challenge the Basic Law and “one country, two systems”. Such acts and activities not only undermine the rule of law and order in Hong Kong but also jeopardise national sovereignty, security and development interests. Furthermore, some organisations have continuously incited students and the young to perform illegal acts. Many young people have thus been arrested and jailed, with their future seriously affected. The Basic Law and Hong Kong’s legal system do not provide for any referendum mechanism. Conducting any form of a so-called referendum will have no constitutional basis or legal effect. Holding a strike and a class boycott as a referendum is obviously taking advantage of students for political purposes. The statement said all of society should dissociate themselves from any organisation which has repeatedly used schools as venues for expressing political demands, and even intentionally misleading or inciting students, especially primary and secondary school students, to take part in such meaningless activities as holding so-called strikes or class boycotts as a referendum. It called on parents and teachers to better protect the next generation, to urge young children and students not to participate in such activities and work together in preventing politics and fallacies from invading schools. The statement reiterated that the Hong Kong SAR Government firmly supports and fully co-operates in implementing work relating to the decision passed by the NPC, adding that no person or organisation will succeed in intimidating the Hong Kong SAR Government by extreme means.
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng today explained the national security law should not be retrospective and that exceptions would be limited to a small number of situations. Ms Cheng made the remarks after attending a radio programme this morning. She said: “At the moment nobody has seen the draft legislation, so it’s not possible to say what is going to happen there. “But insofar as retrospectivity is concerned, as a matter of principle, criminal charges are not to be made retrospectively and therefore there ought not be retrospective effect when the law is legislated. “However there are always some exceptions when the exceptions arise in relation to treaty and customary international law, but they are generally a very narrow, a very small amount of situations.” Ms Cheng pointed out that under Article 63 of the Basic Law, the Department of Justice is responsible for criminal prosecution matters without any interference. “Therefore we will make our decision in relation to the prosecution, whether or not to prosecute and ultimately to take charge of the prosecution matter in court in accordance with the evidence, the law and the relevant prosecution code, so this is how we’re going to do it. “The relevant law enforcement agency will give us the file and probably Police will be the law enforcement agency. We’ll have the file and then we’ll look at it just in any other normal way.”
Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip visited the Police Force today to learn more about the use of technology in police investigations and meet staff to exchange views on matters of concern. Accompanied by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management) Kwok Yam-shu, Mr Nip visited the Crime Support Group and was briefed on the Major Incident Investigation & Disaster Support System's functions and operation. The system is used mainly in large-scale incident investigations, victim identification in disasters and epidemic case analyses. Mr Nip was interested to learn more about how Police make use of the system to assist the Centre for Health Protection in tracing sources of infection and contact tracing for confirmed cases during the COVID-19 epidemic. He then proceeded to the Cyber Security & Technology Crime Bureau for an update on its work in combating technology crime and safeguarding cyber security in Hong Kong. Mr Nip also toured the Cyber Range, which is equipped with advanced training management systems to facilitate team-based simulation exercises on cyber defence in a virtual environment. The range helps enhance the force's capabilities in detecting cyber threats and handling cyber security incidents. The civil service chief thanked police colleagues for their dedication and professionalism in coping with the challenges arising from social incidents during the past year and the COVID-19 epidemic. Wrapping up his visit, Mr Nip met staff representatives of various grades and conveyed his warmest regards to police officers who were attacked and sustained injuries in last year’s social incidents. He also encouraged Police to stand fast and protect public safety.
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) Chief Executive Carrie Lam today urged Hong Kong people to understand the rationale behind the decision by the National People’s Congress (NPC) on the national security legislation in the city. Mrs Lam made the appeal ahead of the Executive Council meeting this morning. “I hope people in Hong Kong will first understand why we have now arrived at this situation that the NPC has to act in order to protect national security and also by that doing to protect Hong Kong.” She noted that the NPC Standing Committee will adopt five fundamental principles in drafting the legislation, including to firmly safeguard national security. “Secondly is to better, the whole purpose is to better the system of ‘one country, two systems’. So whatever is in the ‘one country, two systems’ that has been valued by Hong Kong, certainly it will be upheld. “The third principle is to govern Hong Kong in strict accordance with the law. So there should be no worry that there will be illegal acts by certain people in Hong Kong. “And fourthly is to resist external interference in Hong Kong affairs. “Finally - which is the most important point in my view and hence I have quoted it extensively in one of my press releases or statements - is to uphold the legal rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people.” Mrs Lam also cited a Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office statement that said the legislation’s enactment will not change the high degree of autonomy and will have no impact on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's judicial independence, including that of final adjudication. “I find these principles and clarifications very reassuring, but of course, one has to wait for the draft legislation before you will be truly convinced that the law has complied with each and every of those principles.”