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The Immigration Department announced today that from March 6, the working hours of four Registration of Persons Offices (ROP) will be extended for processing applications for the new smart identity cards made after the end of the citywide Identity Card Replacement Exercise. The Smart Identity Card Replacement Centres (SIDCCs) will cease to operate from March 4. With a view to enabling residents to apply for new smart ID cards in a continuous and orderly manner, starting from March 6, the working hours of the four ROP offices - Hong Kong Office, Kowloon Office, Kwun Tong Office and Tuen Mun Office will be extended. The working hours of the Yuen Long Office and Fo Tan Office will remain unchanged at this stage, but will not process applications under the replacement exercise.Eligible citizens who have yet to apply for or collect a smart ID card on or before March 3 may make an appointment for ID card replacement for the next 24 working days from March 6. To ensure residents can apply for ID cards in a smooth and orderly manner, ROP Offices will not process applications without appointments. In addition, those who have made an application at an SIDCC but have yet to collect their new smart ID cards are required to collect their cards at a specified ROP Office from March 6. Hong Kong residents who cannot have their ID cards replaced due to their absence from Hong Kong can apply for a replacement at an ROP office within 30 days upon their future return to Hong Kong and need not rush back to replace their card. If they return to Hong Kong and stay in the city for less than 30 days, they will not violate the law for not having their ID cards replaced during that time. At present, the old form of smart ID cards are still valid. The department will continue to closely monitor the progress of the replacement of new smart ID cards and has no plan to declare any ID card invalid at this stage. Immigration officers will continue to visit eligible residential care homes to provide on-site ID card replacement and a new smart ID card delivery service for all eligible residents at care homes who have yet to replace their cards. Call 2824 6111 for enquiries.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region search and rescue team returned to Hong Kong after accomplishing its mission in the quake-stricken areas in Türkiye, the Government said. Chief Executive John Lee, Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung, Director of Fire Services Andy Yeung, Director of Health Dr Ronald Lam, Deputy Director of Immigration Benson Kwok, as well as other officials, attended the welcome ceremony at Hong Kong International Airport. At the ceremony, Mr Lee extended his sincere condolences to the people of Türkiye. He said: “I am deeply saddened by the destruction caused by the deadly earthquake in Türkiye, and my thoughts are with everyone who is mourning the loss of their loved ones. “The Hong Kong SAR Government is honoured to have taken part in the rescue efforts and given our assistance to the Turkish people. The tragedy has manifested the importance of solidarity of all mankind. We were deeply touched by the sense of unity showcased by the international community in the rescue mission.” Offering words of encouragement, the Chief Executive expressed confidence that the Turkish people will soon recover, overcome difficulties and rebuild their communities. On behalf of the city, Mr Lee thanked all members of the search and rescue team for their commitment and praised them for their valiant efforts to save lives, which demonstrated civil servants’ outstanding abilities and spirit of mutual support without boundary. “The team showed no fear when faced with difficult conditions in the quake-stricken areas and successfully rescued four survivors. They have displayed great professionalism and valiant dedication in the process.” Upon completion of the operation in Hatay Province, Türkiye, the China and the Hong Kong SAR search and rescue teams arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon. Mr Chan, Mr Tang and Mr Yeung welcomed the teams at Beijing Capital International Airport and flew to Hong Kong with the Hong Kong SAR search and rescue team in the evening. The 59-strong team departed on February 8 to carry out search and rescue work in Hatay Province, one of the most devastated areas in the recent earthquake in Türkiye. During their operation, the team rescued four survivors and found six bodies under the debris. The team comprised 49 members of the Fire Services Department’s Urban Search & Rescue Team, which included firemen, ambulancemen and fire services workshops personnel, as well as officers from the Security Bureau, the Immigration Department and the Department of Health.
Have you completed real-name registration for your pre-paid SIM card yet? If not, do it no later than February 23 to avoid any impact. The quickest way to complete the process is on mobile apps or via the websites of telecommunications service providers. Individual users are required to provide their name in English and Chinese, date of birth, as well as their identity (ID) card number and its copy. According to the Telecommunications (Registration of SIM Cards) Regulation, each individual user may register no more than 10 pre-paid SIM cards with each telecommunications operator. Stress-free process Office of the Communications Authority Head (Market & Competition) Sidney Tsan said the online real-name registration systems of local telecommunications service providers are simple and easy to use. He offered advice on how to make things go smoothly. “Some of the pre-paid SIM card users may encounter problems such as the information of the uploaded ID card image cannot be recognised by the online real-name registration system. Users should try again, and also avoid any light reflection while taking a photo of their ID card and use a plain white background, so as to make it easier for the image to be recognised by the online registration system.” Users may visit the retail outlets of their telecommunications service providers, support stations at 25 designated MTR stations or service counters at 18 designated post offices in person with their ID card, relevant SIM card and mobile phone capable of receiving SMS notifications to complete their registration.  The support stations at MTR stations are open from 9am to 6pm every day until February 23. Moreover, the 18 designated post offices will extend their service hour until 7pm on February 22 and 23 to handle the possible surging cases for assistance before the deadline. Upholding law & orderMr Tsan said the Real-name Registration Programme for SIM Cards is necessary to uphold law and order in the city.  “The real-name registration programme aims to plug the loophole arising from the anonymous nature of pre-paid SIM cards and to assist law enforcement agencies in the detection of crimes involving the use of pre-paid SIM cards, thereby helping safeguard the integrity of telecommunications services and the security of communications networks, as well as law and order.” The Office of the Communications Authority urges users to complete real-name registration for their pre-paid SIM cards as soon as possible and not to wait until the last moment before the deadline, to avoid any service impact. Friendly reminderYou can remind your family and friends using pre-paid SIM cards to complete the registration process as soon as possible. Existing SIM card service plan users are not required to re-register with their telecommunications service providers unless they change to another service provider or subscribe to a new phone number.
Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee, who will reach retirement age on April 2, has been granted an extension of service for 24 months to April 1, 2025. The Government said the purpose of granting Mr Siu an extension of service is to facilitate a smooth transition of the Police Force's senior management.
The International Organization for Mediation (IOMed) Preparatory Office was established in Hong Kong today, the Department of Justice announced. It will carry out the preparatory work for the establishment of the IOMed pursuant to the Joint Statement on the Future Establishment of the International Organization for Mediation signed last year by China and relevant states. Headed by Director-General Sun Jin, the office will also organise international negotiations on the Convention on the Establishment of the International Organization for Mediation and promote the application of international mediation. The Department of Justice said the formation of the office is a significant initiative to promote the use of mediation for resolving international conflicts in a friendly and amicable manner. It is expected that the IOMed will be a permanent multilateral international organisation established through consultations among all contracting parties to the joint statement, and will provide friendly, flexible, economical and efficient mediation services for settling international disputes, contributing to harmonious and peaceful international relations, the department added. Addressing today’s inauguration ceremony, Secretary for Justice Paul Lam said the setting up of the preparatory office in Hong Kong shows the great support from the motherland for maintaining the city’s unique status under “one country, two systems”. He also noted that the establishment of the IOMed is of great importance to the long-term development of Hong Kong as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will do its utmost to assist in the preparatory office’s work. Expressing gratitude to the Central People’s Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the signatory states to the joint statement, he noted that their staunch support and trust signify a vote of confidence in Hong Kong as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre in the Asia-Pacific region. The inauguration ceremony was well attended by government officials of the signatory states and local professionals at the Hong Kong Legal Hub today. Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and State Councilor Wang Yi issued a letter to mark the opening of the office. Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang, Chief Executive John Lee, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong SAR Liu Guangyuan delivered congratulatory remarks.
Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki will depart for Beijing tomorrow morning to attend a welcome ceremony for members of the China search and rescue team, including those from Hong Kong, who will return to the motherland from Türkiye. Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung and Director of Fire Services Andy Yeung will join the trip. The three officials, together with members of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region search and rescue team, will return to the city on the same day and are expected to arrive in the evening. The Hong Kong SAR Government will hold a welcome ceremony for the team at the airport. During Mr Chan and Mr Tang's absence, Deputy Chief Secretary Cheuk Wing-hing will be Acting Chief Secretary, while Under Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk will be Acting Secretary.
A Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government delegation addressed concerns raised by the UN Committee on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights about the city’s human rights situation. Such matters were addressed while attending the committee’s meetings for consideration of the city’s fourth report under the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (ICESCR) on February 15 and 16, the Hong Kong SAR Government explained. It stressed that the delegation answered the committee's questions and responded to issues regarding the human rights situation and social developments in the Hong Kong SAR. Apart from pointing out that the Hong Kong SAR Government continues its firm commitment to upholding Hong Kong residents’ rights and freedoms as protected under the law following the implementation of the National Security Law, the delegation noted that the security law clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the city. The rights and freedoms including the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration that Hong Kong residents enjoy under the Basic Law, the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) and the ICESCR as applied to Hong Kong shall be protected in accordance with the law. Any measures or enforcement actions taken under the National Security Law must observe the aforesaid principle. All law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people and entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation, the delegation said. Nonetheless, such rights and freedoms are not absolute, the delegation emphasised, adding that the ICCPR expressly states that some of them may be subject to restrictions that are necessary for protection of national security, public order, etc. Regarding the committee’s concern about bail arrangement, the delegation reiterated that the cardinal importance of safeguarding national security and preventing and suppressing acts endangering national security explains why the security law introduces more stringent conditions to the grant of bail in relation to offences endangering national security. The delegation also stated the interpretation of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the National Security Law does not confer additional power on the Chief Executive, and only clarified that the provision is applicable in handling the controversy concerning overseas lawyers. The certification system is fair and reasonable, with a solid legal basis. The certificate issued under Article 47 of the National Security Law serves as a piece of evidence only, albeit conclusive, in the case before the court, and it is still for the court to decide on other issues in the outcome of the case, it added. There is no usurpation of the function of the court, the delegation said, noting that the arrangement does not impair the independent judicial power of the Hong Kong courts. As for the allegation of censorship on textbooks, the delegation made it clear that the Hong Kong SAR Government does not compile or publish textbooks, noting that the review mechanism that was put in place is to ensure textbooks are of good quality, factually correct and are in line with the curriculum rationale. The review is undertaken by panels comprising both internal and external reviewers, and more importantly, textbooks are only one kind of learning and teaching resource. Teachers can supplement and enrich the learning and teaching resources in accordance with the aims and objectives of the curriculum and the learning needs of students, the delegation outlined. Following the two days of meetings in Geneva, the committee will compile and publish its concluding observations in early March. The delegation emphasised to the committee that Hong Kong people continue to enjoy the legitimate rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Basic Law and the relevant provisions of international covenants as applied to Hong Kong. Leveraging on the motherland's strong support in the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt & Road Initiative, the delegation added that the Hong Kong SAR Government is working at full steam to forge ahead with openness, diversity and harmony under the well-proven "one country, two systems".
The number of crimes reported in 2022 was 70,048 cases, 8.7% more than in the previous year, mainly due to the rise of over 8,000 deception cases, while the overall detection rate was 35.2%. The number of deception cases increased 45.1% to 27,923 cases in 2022, accounting for almost 40% of the overall number of crimes. More than 70% of the reports were Internet-related. Reviewing last year's law and order situation at a press conference this afternoon, Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee said the jump was mainly driven by the upsurge of cases in online shopping scams, employment fraud, investment fraud and telephone deception - a surge ranging from 40% to 1.8-fold. “When you asked about the reason for that, obviously, we noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic period over the past two to three years, many people were making use of social media.” The Anti-Deception Coordination Centre intercepted over $1.3 billion of payments and prevented victims of over 500 deception cases from wiring money to fraudsters. Police introduced the search engine "Scameter" last year to help members of the public to identify suspicious incoming calls and emails. The force will launch the newly-developed mobile app "Scameter+" to facilitate public use tomorrow. Mr Siu noted that publicity is also extremely important to tackle the deception problem. “We will continue to work in partnership with the Office of the Communications Authority and also mobile network operators (MNOs). “We are continuing to have monthly meetings with these MNOs, mobile virtual network operators etc, in order to work out whether there are any additional measures that we can implement.” There were 8,830 cases of violent crime, a drop of 7.9%. Substantial decreases were registered in a number of major crimes, including sexual offences, criminal intimidation, criminal damage, serious drug offences and theft from vehicles. The number of robbery and burglary cases was the lowest since records began in 1969. As for National Security Law enforcement, Mr Siu highlighted that as at December 31 last year, Police arrested a total of 236 people and more than 140 people have been charged. Safeguarding national security and engaging the whole community to counter terrorism will be Police’s work focus this year. Mr Siu explained that Police have to guard against the threat of extreme violence of homegrown terrorism that is going underground. Social and economic activities are moving forward along the path to normalcy as the pandemic subsides. The force will strive to ensure that public activities under the gradual resumption are conducted in a safe and orderly manner. Additionally, Police will foster multi-agency co-operation among different sectors of the community and reach out to young people in a soft approach with a view to heightening their law-abiding awareness. Officers will also work in close and effective collaboration with the community to enhance public understanding of policing work and strengthen their trust and support in the force by way of optimising police services and enhancing transparency.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region search and rescue team today successfully rescued a survivor trapped under the debris in Türkiye's quake-stricken areas. The survivor, found during a search and rescue operation in Hatay, was then moved to an ambulance. The team said it will continue to make every effort to conduct search and rescue operations.
Members of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region search and rescue team that were sent to quake-stricken areas in Türkiye have rescued three people so far. It was explained in a Fire Services Department press release that after the Hong Kong SAR team left the city for Türkiye on February 8, it successfully found three survivors on February 11 during a search and rescue operation in Hatay. The three survivors were trapped under about six metres of debris. The team then moved them to an ambulance. Team Commander Yiu Men-yeung said: “We are very excited and encouraged to be able to find three survivors six days after the earthquake. The team will grasp every opportunity and do its best to find the remaining survivors.”