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The  Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproved of and condemned the baseless allegations by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the European Union (EU) against the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance and National Security Department's law enforcement actions which simply do not stand up to the facts. ​The Hong Kong SAR law enforcement agencies have been taking law enforcement actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the people or entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation. ​For the relevant law enforcement actions taken by Police in accordance with the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, investigations revealed that the arrestees' acts involved repeatedly publishing posts with seditious intention on a social platform with content provoking hatred towards the central government, the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Judiciary, as well as inciting netizens to organise or participate in illegal activities. Offences in connection with seditious intention are very serious crimes, and no jurisdictions, including the US and those from the EU, will watch with folded arms acts and activities that endanger national security. The Hong Kong SAR Government emphasised that the ordinance only targets an extremely small minority of people who endanger national security so as to protect the lives, property, freedoms and rights of the Hong Kong people. The offences under the ordinance, including those in connection with "seditious intention", will not hinder the legitimate expression of opinions such as making reasonable and genuine criticism of government policies based on objective facts. The ordinance clearly specifies that the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law, as well as the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, are to be protected in accordance with the law. The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance is a piece of legislation to defend against acts and activities endangering national security, the Hong Kong SAR Government noted, adding that only those who want to intrude into Hong Kong to plunder and loot should be worried by it.
Fire and rescue personnel from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau have completed a joint emergency response and rescue exercise, simulating the occurrence of a strong earthquake, in Jiangmen, Guangdong. The exercise, held from Monday until today, followed a blueprint under formulation by the governments of the three places, namely the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Emergency Response & Rescue Operational Plan. The plan is aimed at developing a comprehensive and systematic emergency mobilisation and co-ordination mechanism that will strengthen capabilities for responding jointly to disasters and incidents in the bay area. In the 48-hour joint exercise, named “Liancheng-2024”, a strong earthquake was presented as having take place in Pengjiang District, Jiangmen, affecting a wide swathe of territory and causing multiple buildings to collapse, people to be trapped and casualties to occur. The Hong Kong Fire Services Department (FSD) and the Macao Fire Services Bureau immediately deployed personnel to the affected area to assist in rescue operations in response to the hypothetical disaster.  The FSD deployed a total of 27 members from its Disaster Response & Rescue Team, five fire appliances, and over 400 items of rescue equipment. Rescue teams from the three places conducted independent and joint operations in 11 different rescue scenarios. These involved a high-rise building, a tilted building, a collapsed container, rubble, a mudslide, a vertical shaft and a cable-car. At the command meeting, Deputy Director of Fire Services (Operations) Angus Wong said the cross-boundary exercise demonstrated the efficient deployment of rescue resources from the three places. He added that the three places will reflect on the experience gained and further optimise relevant operational procedures, with a view to enhancing the efficiency of cross-boundary rescue efforts. The governments of the three places are expected to sign the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Emergency Management Co-operation & Greater Bay Area Emergency Response Operation Co-operation Framework Agreement in Hong Kong in mid-June.
Secretary for Justice Paul Lam and Chongqing Municipal Justice Bureau Deputy Director-General Xiong Shiming today signed a framework arrangement to deepen the cities’ exchanges and co-operation in legal services. The framework arrangement also aims to enable lawyers in the two places to better serve economic development. The two sides reached an agreement on enhancing co-operation and exchanges of their legal sectors, strengthening exchanges and co-operation in the training of foreign-related legal services talent, and organising a mutual exchange of legal officials. They also agreed to support and encourage the Chongqing and Hong Kong legal sectors to provide services to enterprises in both places with the aim of promoting the “go global” development strategy, and support law firms to set up branches at the other side and establish partnership associations. Mr Lam said the framework arrangement forms a solid foundation to promote future exchanges and co-operation between the two places on legal and dispute resolution services and more, and to jointly contribute to the construction of the country’s rule of law. This signing of the pact is also conducive to the implementation of the specific co-operation measures outlined in a memorandum signed by the two governments last May.
Police’s National Security Department today arrested a 53-year-old woman on suspicion of committing “Offences in Connection with Seditious Intention”, contravening Section 24 of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance. The arrest on Hong Kong Island follows yesterday's police operation in which six people were arrested.  The number of people arrested in the case has now increased to seven. Investigations revealed that a woman, remanded in custody, had exploited an upcoming sensitive date to repeatedly publish posts with seditious intention on a social platform anonymously with the assistance of at least six arrestees since April 2024. Apart from provoking hatred towards the central authorities, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Judiciary, the content of these posts also incited netizens to organise or participate in relevant illegal activities. The arrestees are being detained for further enquiries, except for the one who is being held in custody. The enforcement action is still on-going and Police cannot rule out the possibility of further arrests.
The Culture, Sports & Tourism Bureau today said it has zero tolerance for match-fixing, following the arrest of 12 coaches and players of local football clubs for allegedly being bribed to rig matches to facilitate profiting from illegal gambling. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) arrested the coaches and players who are in the Hong Kong Premier League (HKPL) and the Second Division of Hong Kong, earlier today. The bureau said that match-fixing is not only illegal but also contrary to the principle of fair play in sports, which absolutely cannot be tolerated. In light of the seriousness of the incident, the bureau has requested the Football Association of Hong Kong, China to invite the ICAC to conduct a comprehensive review on the arrangements of the HKPL and leagues of other divisions to keep out corruption to ensure a fair and clean environment for football development in Hong Kong. The association recently completed a mid-term review to further promote the city’s football development and is implementing a series of improvement measures, including strengthening collaboration with the ICAC, enhancing football clubs' awareness on corruption prevention, and requiring them to review the professional ethics of coaches and players on a regular basis. The bureau will urge the association to implement these measures as soon as possible.
Police’s National Security Department today arrested six people on suspicion of violating the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance by publishing posts on social media inciting hatred against the Mainland and Hong Kong authorities. Briefing the media this evening on the department’s operation, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung said the arrestees include five women and one man, with one of the women being detained in a public correctional institution. “The allegations (against) this group of people are using a Facebook page on social media to advocate hatred against the central government, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and also our Judiciary. "They are relating to a forthcoming sensitive date. “The main crime is not about the subject. It is about utilising the subject during which they incited hatred against the central government, the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Judiciary. “This incitement of hatred is the cause of the crime.”
The Working Family & Student Financial Assistance Agency today urged the public to stay alert to fraudulent WhatsApp messages purported to be sent by the Student Finance Office. The agency has reported the case to Police. It stressed that WhatsApp or social media accounts are not used to contact applicants about financial assistance schemes, adding that only letters, phone calls, emails or SMS messages are used for such communication. To help citizens verify the identities of SMS senders, all SMS messages from the agency would be sent by SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. Anyone who has been scammed should contact Police immediately.
Personnel from the Security Bureau and the Fire Services Department’s Disaster Response & Rescue Team today departed for Jiangmen special service fire station to conduct a 48-hour Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau joint emergency response and rescue exercise. The exercise is being conducted to prepare for the implementation of an emergency mobilisation and co-ordination mechanism under the Greater Bay Area Emergency Response and Rescue Operational Plan. The plan is designed to strengthen capabilities in coping with contingencies such as disasters and natural hazards affecting the three places. The drill will test the cross-boundary green channel, which is intended to facilitate the smooth flow of personnel, equipment and supplies at boundary control points during an emergency response operation, as well as activation and joint emergency command mechanisms under the operational plan. This is not only the first time that fire rescue units from the three places will participate in a joint exercise on the Mainland, but also the first time that fire appliances from the Hong Kong SAR will be deployed to take part in one. The governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau are expected to sign the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Emergency Management Co-operation & Greater Bay Area Emergency Response Operation Co-operation Framework Agreement in Hong Kong in mid-June.
Chief Justice Andrew Cheung will lead a delegation to visit Shanghai and Zhejiang tomorrow, the Judiciary announced today. The delegation will meet Supreme People’s Court Executive Vice-president Deng Xiuming, attend seminars, and have professional exchanges with Mainland judges on court operations, commercial litigation and the use of technology in court. The delegation will return to Hong Kong on May 31. During Mr Cheung’s absence, Court of Final Appeal Permanent Judge Roberto Ribeiro will be Acting Chief Justice.
The total number of reported drug abusers was 1,666 in the first quarter of 2024, compared with 1,863 for the same period in 2023, the Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN) announced today. However, the ACAN pointed out that the figures tend to show greater volatilities in the first quarter of a year and it will closely monitor the situation in the remaining quarters of 2024 as it continues to carry out its anti-drug work. According to figures of the Central Registry of Drug Abuse, the number of reported young drug abusers aged under 21 for the first quarter of the year was 259. The most common types of drugs abused among this category of drug abusers was cannabis, cocaine, and ketamine, commonly known as “K”. Figures from law enforcement agencies showed that the number of persons arrested for drug offences in the first quarter of 2024 was 767, with 62 of them being young drug abusers aged under 21.  The ACAN expressed grave concern about the situation of cannabis abuse. In particular, cannabis was the most common type of drugs abused by reported young drug abusers aged under 21 in the first quarter of 2024, with over half of them taking this drug. ACAN Chairman Donald Li made it clear that cannabis is addictive. "Some youngsters consider taking cannabis trendy or a so-called 'chill' lifestyle, and even think that the legalisation of cannabis is a world trend. Such thinking has ignored the medical evidence that smoking cannabis is harmful to health,” he said. To raise public awareness of the harms of cannabis, especially awareness among young people, the Security Bureau’s Narcotics Division (ND) will launch a new TV Announcement in the Public Interest (API) this year and the corresponding radio API to disseminate the message that "Cannabis is a drug".  The ND noted that since travelling has resumed normal, drug dealers often post recruitment advertisements on dubious websites and social media accounts with offers of free trips and high remuneration to lure people into drug trafficking. The ND will step up publicity and education to remind the public to stay vigilant and not to fall into drug traps driven by greed.  As the summer holiday is approaching, the ND also reminds people to say no to drugs at all times when travelling to other places. When coming across oil and relevant products for heat-not-burn cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, the public should pay careful attention to determine if these products contain cannabis, cannabidiol, emerging new drugs, and other harmful substances or poison, and should not try them or bring them back to Hong Kong.