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Customs today announced they arrested four people and seized 2,200 items during operations against the sale of infringing goods in Central. The items, including clothing, leather products, handbags, wallets and eyeglasses, have an estimated market value of $310,000. Officers raided mobile hawker stalls in Central on January 5, 12 and 19 to step up enforcement against infringing activities before the Lunar New Year. Three men and one woman, aged between 26 and 47, were arrested during the operations. Customs will continue to combat infringing activities during the Lunar New Year period. Call the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or send an email to report suspected infringing activities.
Police reiterated that they will continue to fully co-operate with the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) Special Task Force in all aspects of its study on the public order events since June 9. The statement was made after an interview with a former IPCC member was published in a local newspaper yesterday. It said since the commencement of the study on public order events since June 9, Police have been maintaining close liaison with the IPCC and professionally facilitated every aspect of the Special Task Force’s work. This includes providing required documents, answering enquiries as well as arranging interviews with specific police commanders. Police regret that the interview's content may lead to a misunderstanding that Police have not been fully co-operative with the study.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan today officiated at a reception to celebrate 2020 International Customs Day (ICD). Mr Chan said Hong Kong Customs is making considerable contributions to combat illegal activities and provide a safe and stable environment for the city. “Without Customs’ collective efforts, illegal drugs, endangered species, counterfeit products and other illicit goods would seriously damage the community.” He further noted that Customs plays a pivotal role in facilitating trade and promoting the economy. Mr Chan also presented World Customs Organization Certificates of Merit to Customs officers and private stakeholders to recognise their remarkable efforts in contributing to sustainable development. Commissioner of Customs & Excise Hermes Tang also presided over the event and elaborated on the close relationship between Hong Kong Customs' work and this year’s ICD theme "People, Prosperity & the Planet." The work includes people-oriented enforcement and crime prevention operations, trade facilitation measures to bring prosperity, and anti-smuggling of endangered species to conserve the earth. He expressed that the three concepts are in line with the notion of “community with a shared future for mankind” while the Belt & Road Initiative serves as a platform to build the community. About 350 guests attended the reception.
The Government today said it disagrees with the impromptu motion moved by the Central & Western District Council against Police and the Commissioner of Police.  The motion made unfounded allegations against Police, it said. The Government added that it attaches great importance to the views of the District Councils, noting that department heads attend District Council meetings in person to listen to their views.  The Commissioner of Police attended the Central & Western District Council meeting today and answered questions raised by council members. However, the Government disagrees with the council's impromptu practice as well as the stance of the motion, and therefore all government members in attendance walked out of the meeting.
An operational event at Taishan Nuclear Power Station on January 6 had no effect on the plant’s operational safety, the Security Bureau said today.  The case, reported on the Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company’s website, involved a low-voltage switchboard at Unit 2 of the station. A component malfunction occurred at the Unit 2 switchboard on January 6, and the periodic test of non-faulty switchboard carried out during the repair period did not meet the technical specifications’ requirement.  The company took timely action to report the situation to the nuclear safety regulatory authority and carry out internal experience feedback. During the repair and periodic test, Unit 2 remained in a normal and safe condition.  The bureau explained the event was classified as a “Level 0” deviation in accordance with the International Nuclear & Radiological Event Scale and relevant nuclear safety regulations, and had no effect on the station’s safe operation, workers’ health, nearby public or the environment.
The ceremonial opening of the legal year 2020 was held at City Hall in Central today. Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma inspected the Ceremonial Guard mounted by the Hong Kong Police. In a speech, he said that he was aware of the volume of cases that are before the courts relating to the events of the past seven months, adding that the vast majority of cases are at this moment simply not ready for trial. “In order to cope with the expected high volume of cases, the Judiciary has made plans to deal with such cases (at whatever level of court) expeditiously. “A task group has been set up for some time now to look into how best and how expeditiously our courts can cope with these cases. Relevant stakeholders will be consulted on suggested measures. These include proposals to sit extended hours. “I must, however, emphasise that while expedition is desirable and we will do our best to achieve this, it is important to bear in mind the overall importance of a fair trial.” Mr Ma also noted that anyone is entitled to criticise and comment on the work of the courts, but they must be on an informed basis. So far as the cases related to recent events are concerned, one must bear in mind the constitutional requirement of a fair trial, he added. Also speaking at the event, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said the state of turmoil in Hong Kong in 2019 has put us through the most difficult times. She added that many of Hong Kong’s core values have been under challenge and the core value closest to our hearts, the rule of law, is no exception. “In ordering the continuation of an interim injunction to restrain doxxing and harassment against police officers on an internet-based platform, the High Court reminded that ‘the promotion and maintenance of the rule of law is not sensibly or rationally pursued by repeated and escalating breaches of the law’, and ‘persons who commit such crimes are simply, and properly described as, 'criminals'. “Criminal activity does not cease to be criminal activity simply because the actor believes himself or herself to be acting for a particular, perhaps higher, cause". Given that this was the final occasion that Mr Ma would address the Opening of the Legal Year before his retirement in January next year, Ms Cheng conveyed her sincere appreciation for his contribution to the rule of law, and efforts in retaining and attracting talent of the highest professional quality for the Judiciary to administer justice.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung today officiated at the Kick-off Ceremony of Celebration Events & Carnival for 100th Anniversary of the Correctional Services Department. The event was held at Tai Kwun, Central to mark the start of a series of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the department’s establishment. A dance performance was presented to show the transformation of correctional services over the century, from emphasising safe custody, to focusing on custodial and rehabilitative services. The ceremony also featured game booths and an old uniforms demonstration by correctional staff. An augmented reality booth allowing the public to create photos of themselves wearing vintage uniforms and a 3D special effects photo booth highlighting illustrations of the department’s development were also set up. Addressing the ceremony, Mr Cheung said the department has kept up with the times since its establishment in 1920. He noted that the department has strived to maintain highly disciplined correctional facilities in a secure, safe and professional manner, while it implemented a wide variety of schemes and programmes to promote community rehabilitation. He pointed out that over the past century, the department progressed with the times by working diligently behind the scenes and making an enormous contribution to public safety and crime prevention in Hong Kong. Mr Cheung also commended the department for their relentless efforts in encouraging the public to accept and treat rehabilitated people kindly and promoting messages on law-abiding and inclusive values. Click here for details of the celebration events.
Immigration officers arrested 25 suspected illegal workers and nine suspected employers in citywide raids from January 6 to 9. The offenders were arrested at 31 locations including commercial buildings, a construction site, a hair salon, massage parlours, premises under renovation, restaurants, stores and a watch maintenance centre. Two workers were holders of recognisance forms that prohibit them from accepting employment. Another seven were suspected of possessing and using forged Hong Kong identity cards. The department reminded employers not to hire illegal workers and warned visitors not to take up employment in Hong Kong without permission from the Director of Immigration. Illegal immigrants or those subject to removal or deportation orders should not take up any employment or establish or join any business, it added.
Customs have smashed four fitness centres and arrested 16 people for engaging in unfair trade practices in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance in an operation over the past two months. The arrestees, aged between 22 and 56, had allegedly engaged in aggressive commercial practices when selling fitness services involving $660,000 in service contracts. Of them, seven are directors and seven are salespeople at the fitness centres in Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei. In some cases, victims were even taken to another retail shop for high-value consumption. Report unfair trade practices via the Customs & Excise Department’s hotline 2545 6182 or its crime-reporting email account.
The Government issued a Red Outbound Travel Alert today on Iran due to the latest situation there. It said Hong Kong people should avoid non-essential travel to the country, while those who are already there should monitor the situation, exercise caution, attend to their personal safety and avoid large gatherings. Hong Kong residents in Iran who need assistance can call the Immigration Department at (852) 1868 or the Chinese Embassy in Iran at (98) 912-2176035. The Security Bureau will closely monitor the situation and will issue updates through the media and the bureau's mobile app and webpage. Hong Kong people can use the Immigration Department’s online Registration of the Outbound Travel Information service to register their contact details and itinerary when outside Hong Kong. The department will disseminate information through SMS when necessary.