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Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today presented appointment certificates to the Security Bureau Youth Uniformed Group Leaders Forum Advisory Board. The advisers are Founding Chairman Yeung Fun-bun, Chairman Cheng Cheung-ling, Permanent President Chan Hak-kan, President Cheung Wah-fung and President Kwan Chi-ping. Noting that the advisory board members are distinguished leaders from various sectors, Mr Tang thanked them for their staunch support by leveraging their experience, network and enthusiasm for serving society to enrich the forum’s training and the youth members’ experience, and to provide valuable advice to the development of the forum, striving to nurture more outstanding leaders for society. Established by the Security Bureau last October as a way to deepen the participation of government departments and civil service grades in youth work, the forum organises training activities for its members. The bureau pointed out that there are 50 youth members in this forum, selected from distinguished members of various disciplined and auxiliary services youth uniformed groups. In the past few months, the bureau organised diverse activities for the members, which included a two-day induction course at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy in Tseung Kwan O, a two-day event at the Civil Aid Service Yuen Tun Camp, seminars on national security and “one country, two systems”, and visits to the Government Flying Service and a public transport operator. More activities such as field trips to the Greater Bay Area and internships in the Security Bureau will be arranged in the future, the bureau added.
In 2021, the Fire Services Department (FSD) successfully bred its first batch of working dogs in collaboration with the Customs & Excise Department. Among them are Umi and Uma, who are now two years old. As an essential part of the FSD’s Search & Rescue Dog Team, the pair have already saved many lives. In February this year, Umi and his teammate Twix helped at the Türkiye earthquake zone and rescued four people. In July last year, Umi and Uma were deployed together to search for a missing hiker on a mountain in Clear Water Bay. They also conducted searches after a No.3 alarm fire broke out in a warehouse in Fanling last August. Umi's handler Chan Chu-hong believed that Umi is perfect as a search and rescue dog. "The English Springer Spaniel has a keen sense of smell. Coupled with its agility, it can cover large areas and detect the source of human scent in no time, " said Mr Chan. New search methods Operations in mountain areas is a training focus for the canines. The number of mountain rescues in Hong Kong rose from 242 in 2018 to 1,014 last year. In the past, search and rescue dogs would carry out large-scale searches to detect human scents, but it was energy consuming due to the absence of a specific target scent. Because of this, the department changed things round and employed a new training technique early last year that focuses on tracking specific odours. “During actual rescue operations, we visit the missing people's home and collect their scents, such as those from pillowcases, shoes or clothing for the dogs to track,” Mr Chan explained. Enhanced training Search and rescue dogs regularly practise their skills at an urban search and rescue training ground at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy. The Department said the canines had to overcome environmental challenges such as distracting food smells, the scent from different people's clothing, heavy machinery and even fire at the quake-stricken areas in Türkiye. The experience has helped to strengthen their regular training. “We can enhance our training by simulating a more realistic collapsed site environment, understanding the potential dangers in actual disaster areas and thus develop more suitable search and rescue strategies,” said Mr Chan. Well bred The Fire Services Department currently has six search and rescue dogs, of which Uma and Umi were bred and trained in Hong Kong, while the other four were born and trained in other places. The Department believes that in-house breeding can better meet their training needs. "The puppies received basic training and socialisation training in a game-based mode at around two months old to help them develop a brave and friendly character. They could also adapt to the weather and terrain of Hong Kong," Mr Chan said. The department hopes to breed a new generation of search and rescue dogs in the future to help the people of Hong Kong.
The Immigration Department (ImmD) today announced that starting from April 12, the appointment booking arrangements for identity card applications will be further enhanced. Since March 6, the working hours of four Registration of Persons (ROP) Offices - the Hong Kong Office, Kowloon Office, Kwun Tong Office and Tuen Mun Office - have been extended. In view of the upsurge in demand for the replacement of ID card service since the resumption of travel, staring from April 12, people already in possession of Hong Kong ID cards reaching 11 or 18 years of age may book an appointment to replace the ID cards during the extended service hours of the four ROP Offices. The arrangement is only applicable to applicants who are already in possession of Hong Kong ID cards applying for replacement. Applicants reaching 11 or 18 years of age who have never registered for an ID card should book an appointment during normal ROP service hours for first registration of their ID card. The appointment bookable period of the ROP services appointment booking system will also be extended from 24 working days to 96 working days. Residents may scan the QR codes to download the ImmD mobile application or make an appointment for an ID card application online. They are reminded to arrive at the ROP Offices as scheduled for ID card services. ROP Offices will not process applications without appointments.
The Department of Justice today announced that two working groups have been set up under the Steering Committee on Rule of Law Education to follow up on the work relating to the Rule of Law Education Train-the-Trainers Programme. The establishment of the two groups - the Working Group on Course Design & Teaching Materials and the Working Group on Coordination & Liaison - was agreed at the committee's first meeting in February. The course design group was formed on March 29 and convened its first meeting that day. Chaired by Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal Patrick Chan, the group's main duty is to guide, co-ordinate and examine the structure and key contents of the programme's training course as well as the design and preparation of relevant teaching materials. The other working group, which was established today, is chaired by Legislative Council member Carmen Kan. It mainly co-ordinates the programme's implementation, including the invitation of speakers, recruitment of students, promotion and publicity work, and the direction and co-ordination of the strategy for further promoting the rule of law in the community. Both groups are also required to report to the committee on its work progress. The launch of the steering committee and the programme are among the department's key policy initiatives announced in the 2022 Policy Address. The programme aims to train people in various sectors of the community and enhance their capability of and effectiveness in passing on correct messages of the rule of law to others, thereby achieving the objective of promoting rule of law education on all fronts. Click here for the membership lists of the two working groups.
In response to and support of National Security Education Day, the Fire Services Department will organise an open day at the Fire & Ambulance Services Academy in Tseung Kwan O on April 15. Citizens can apply for admission tickets from today until April 5. Activities will include the introduction of the department's efforts in safeguarding national security, a fire appliances parade, firefighting and rescue demonstrations as well as displays of training facilities, equipment and special vehicles. It will also feature an exhibition on fire safety education, game booths, a recruitment experience area, as well as a demonstration of Fire Services working dogs. The Fire & Ambulance Services Education Centre & Museum will also be open to the public on the day. The open day will be held from 8.45am to 4pm. People can apply for a maximum of four admission tickets until April 5 using the latest version of the Fire Services Department mobile app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Google Play and Huawei AppGallery for free. Tickets will be allocated by computer ballot and successful applicants will receive a notification through the mobile app on or before April 10. Children aged three or below do not require a ticket. Call 2411 8825 for enquiries.
The Immigration Department today announced the introduction of the 1868 WhatsApp assistance hotline for Hong Kong residents outside the city in distress or in need of assistance to contact its Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit (AHU). The department previously introduced the network data call function for the AHU's 1868 hotline and the Online Assistance Request Form. The current designated WhatsApp hotline (852) 5190 8909 for overseas job scams will cease service today. Hong Kong residents outside the city can use the 1868 WhatsApp assistance hotline for assistance by messaging (852) 1868, scanning the QR code or clicking the hyperlink. The 1868 WhatsApp assistance hotline is not applicable for general enquiries. For other immigration enquiries, call (852) 2824 6111 or send an email.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproved of and firmly rejected the unfounded, fact-twisting remarks and smears in the US' so-called 2023 Hong Kong Policy Act Report. In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government strongly disapproved of and firmly rejected the slandering remarks and ill-intentioned attacks in the report against Hong Kong where the “one country, two systems” principle is successfully implemented. It pointed out that the US once again twisted facts about Hong Kong, with politics overriding the rule of law, and interfered in the city's affairs which are China's internal affairs. “The US' attempt to undermine the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong will only expose its own weakness and faulty arguments and be doomed to fail.” It strongly urged the US to immediately stop acting against international law and the basic norms of international relations and interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs at large. The Hong Kong SAR Government also strongly opposed the false remarks against the improved Hong Kong electoral system and the 2022 Chief Executive Election in the report, highlighting that the electoral system puts in place legal safeguards to ensure full implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. “Keeping political power in the hands of patriots is a political rule commonly adopted in the world. No one in any country or region in the world will ever allow political power to fall into the hands of forces or individuals who do not love, or even sell out or betray, their own country.” It emphasised that regardless of one's background, whoever meets the requirements and criteria of a patriot can participate in elections in accordance with the law and serve the Hong Kong public by entering into the city's governance structure after being successfully elected. The sixth-term Chief Executive Election was successfully held on May 8, 2022, in strict accordance with the electoral laws of Hong Kong in an open, fair and honest manner. The Hong Kong SAR Government made it clear that the improved electoral system is advanced and superior, adding that its broad representation, political inclusiveness, balanced participation and fair competition help bring society back on track to focus on developing the economy, enhancing people's livelihood, sustaining Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity, and achieving good governance. Hong Kong residents' rights to vote and to stand for election are well enshrined in the Basic Law. The Decision of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China in March 2021 did not revise the ultimate aim of attaining universal suffrage provided for in Basic Law Articles 45 and 68. The improved electoral system, by ensuring “patriots administering Hong Kong” and safeguarding the overall interests of society, is conducive to the stable development of Hong Kong's democracy, it added. As regard the absurd and unfounded contents against the National Security Law (NSL) in the report, the Hong Kong SAR Government cited that the US has been repeatedly exploiting different incidents and occasions as well as creating excuses to maliciously slander the NSL and attack Hong Kong in its dutiful, faithful and lawful implementation of the NSL since the law’s implementation in June 2020. It said the US has also deliberately neglected the fact that the implementation of the NSL has enabled the livelihood and economic activities of the Hong Kong community at large to resume as normal and the business environment to be restored. “Its bullying act and hypocrisy with double standards are despicable.” The Hong Kong SAR also noted that the legislative interpretation of the NSL given by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress last year did not in any way impair the independent judicial power and the power of final adjudication of the Hong Kong courts as guaranteed by the Basic Law. “The interpretation did not confer additional power on the Chief Executive, and only clarified that Article 47 of the NSL is applicable in handling the controversy concerning overseas lawyers. “Owing to the inherent nature of matters concerning national security, the executive authority is in a far better position than the courts to make appropriate judgements. “Hence, the courts will afford deference to the judgements made by the executive authority regarding national security matters. “This principle is also a general rule for safeguarding national security practised by different places in the world, including in the US. “It must be stressed that the certificate issued by the Chief Executive only provides binding certification to the court on the questions stipulated in Article 47 of the NSL. “It does not usurp the function of the court in deciding on other issues of the legal proceedings or the adjudication of the case.” The Hong Kong SAR Government also rebuked the US report's groundless smears against its law enforcement actions. “We seriously reiterate that all law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies under the NSL, or indeed any local laws, are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the persons or entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation.” As regard the “sanctions” arbitrarily imposed by the US as mentioned in the report, the Hong Kong SAR Government seriously reiterated the “sanctions” smack of despicable political manipulation, grossly interfere in China's internal affairs and Hong Kong affairs, and violate international law and the basic norms governing international relations. “The Hong Kong SAR Government despises such so-called ‘sanctions’ by the US, is not intimidated by such despicable behaviour, and will resolutely continue to discharge the duty of safeguarding national security." It supplemented that the legal basis for implementing “one country, two systems” comprises the Constitution and the Basic Law, which provide a constitutional guarantee for fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to equality before the law, and is buttressed by the rule of law and independent judicial power. “The Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to fully, faithfully and resolutely implement the principles of 'one country, two systems', 'Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong' and a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law to ensure the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong," it added.
Police today launched the second Leadership Institute on Narcotics (L.I.O.N.) one-year anti-drug youth leadership development programme. Addressing the kick-off ceremony, Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee said L.I.O.N., founded by the force's Narcotics Bureau last year, has nurtured 100 young anti-drug leaders and disseminated the message of “Drugs? Never!” to about 13,000 students and over 4,000 members of the public. The Polytechnic University was invited to conduct research to evaluate the effectiveness of L.I.O.N. in a quantitative and qualitative approach. Mr Siu said the results revealed that the programme has effectively extended mentees’ anti-drug knowledge and encouraged them to promote anti-drug messages to their schoolmates, friends and family members more actively. Based on last year’s training, the second L.I.O.N. will include an additional visit to correctional facilities and a two-day tour to the Mainland, with a view to enhancing mentees’ sense of crime prevention, understanding of the national anti-drug strategies and national development through visiting local correctional facilities, anti-drug agencies and high-tech enterprises in the Mainland. Mentees will also have the opportunity to participate in overseas exchange programmes to gain a better understanding of the impact of drugs on different countries, broaden their horizons as well as tell the good anti-drug stories of Hong Kong. As many countries have legalised cannabis and other dangerous drugs in recent years, Police will continue to facilitate enforcement and work closely with the public to protect young people from harmful drugs.
The Immigration Department will launch new electronic services tomorrow for eligible applicants to complete the entire process of birth or death registrations online, without having to visit a registry in person. According to the Births & Deaths Registration (Amendment) Ordinance 2023, which will take effect tomorrow, the statutory time limit for the registration of deaths from natural causes is extended from 24 hours to 14 days. It also removes the requirement for applicants who need to register births or deaths to attend the registries in person, so as to provide a legal basis for the introduction of electronic services for these kinds of registration. Under the new electronic services, if either parent of a newborn baby is a Hong Kong permanent resident, the parents may submit an application for a birth registration online within 42 days after the birth of their legitimate child. They may apply for a birth certificate at the same time and choose to receive it by post upon payment of a prescribed fee online. For death registrations, the new electronic services will be applicable to deaths from natural causes. Applicants should submit an application for a death registration online within the 14-day statutory time limit. They may also apply for a death certificate in one go and choose to receive it by post after paying a prescribed fee online. The entire process of the registrations can be done on the department's mobile app, its website or the GovHK website. Eligible applicants are reminded to register an iAM Smart+ account before performing the digital signing function with legal backing. Apart from online registrations, members of the public may continue to register births or deaths by visiting a registry in person. The eligibility criteria and registration fees remain unchanged regardless of the registration method. For enquiries, call 2824 6111, send a fax to 2877 7711 or contact the department by email.
The Immigration Department today announced that April 5 and 7 will be designated as special service days for the Registration of Persons (ROP) - Hong Kong Office at Immigration Tower in Wan Chai. That office will then provide different kinds of identity card application services, including replacement of new smart identity cards under the Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise, first-time applications for adult or juvenile identity cards, replacement of identity cards due to loss, destruction, damage or defacement, as well as amendment of registered particulars on identity cards and identity card applications from new arrivals. Since the resumption of travel, many Hong Kong residents outside of Hong Kong returned for identity card applications, resulting in a high demand for appointment quotas. In addition, as the Easter holidays are coming, more residents are expected to return to Hong Kong. To enable residents to apply for identity cards in an orderly manner, the ROP - Hong Kong Office will open on April 5 and 7 from 8am to 6pm to provide the aforesaid identity card application services. Applications for the Certificate of Registered Particulars and the Certificate of Exemption will not be provided on these two days so as to concentrate resources for identity card application services. Appointments can be made on April 5 or 7 for identity card applications online starting from April 3. Click here for relevant QR code. For appointments on other days, people may scan the other QR codes to download the department mobile app or make an appointment for an identity card application online. To ensure residents can apply for identity cards in a smooth and orderly manner, ROP offices will not process applications without appointments. However, the offices may offer assistance on individual circumstances for applicants without an appointment but have an urgent need to replace their identity cards which have been lost, destroyed, damaged or defaced.