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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. 
Acting Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk, Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee and Commissioner of Customs & Excise Louise Ho today met United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) Executive Director and United Nations Office at Vienna Director-General Ghada Fathi Waly. Ms Waly is in Hong Kong until May 25 for the 8th Independent Commission Against Corruption Symposium. The UNODC delegation was first received by Mr Cheuk at the Jockey Club Drug InfoCentre where he presented the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's crime-fighting policies as well as strategies in combating narcotics, which have enabled Hong Kong to become one of the safest cities in the world. After the session, the delegation exchanged ideas with the Mr Siu on anti-money laundering, anti-deception and cyber crimes, in particular how to underpin Hong Kong's role as an international city and financial centre through various law enforcement efforts. They also met Ms Ho during a visit to the Kwai Chung Customhouse, to gain firsthand knowledge of Customs' work, including how it combats drug trafficking and its efforts in stopping the transnational smuggling of endangered plants and animals. Mr Cheuk said: “We hope that the UNODC delegation could gain a better understanding of the latest situation in Hong Kong after the visit. “We are committed to international co-operation and working together with the UNODC on achieving its goal of making the world safer from drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism. We also look forward to further opportunities for our young people to participate in UNODC activities.”
Secretary for Justice Paul Lam concluded his visit to the Middle East in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), today with his delegation. Mr Lam had a meeting with Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry Chairman Abdallah Sultan Al Owais this morning, to discuss and explore business opportunities in both places and related matters. This was followed by a visit to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts. The DIFC is an onshore financial centre in the UAE offering an independent legal and regulatory framework as well as a common law system. Operated as an independent English language common-law judiciary, the DIFC Courts has jurisdiction to hear civil and commercial disputes both regionally and internationally. During the visit, Law Society of Hong Kong President Chan Chak-ming and DIFC Courts Director Omar Al Mheiri signed a memorandum of understanding. Mr Lam was pleased to note that both sides would strengthen their co-operation to promote exchanges and the development of the legal professional services between Hong Kong and Dubai. In the afternoon, Mr Lam and his delegation visited Dubai International Arbitration Centre to meet its Chairman of the Board Tariq Humaid Al Tayer to exchange views and share experiences on the provision of a full spectrum of alternative dispute resolution services. For the last stop in Dubai, the justice chief and the delegation met Dubai Chambers President and CEO Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah to learn more about local businesses and their need for multi-jurisdictional legal services, highlighting Hong Kong's robust legal system and its strengths in international legal and dispute resolution services. Mr Lam will arrive back in Hong Kong tomorrow.
It is a great pleasure to be here today to open this eighth ICAC Symposium, and to welcome each and every one of you - more than 500 high-profile professionals from 60 jurisdictions from six continents. You are anti-corruption law enforcers and experts, judges, prosecutors, legal practitioners, government regulators and officials, academics and more. You are here, over these next three days, to hear and consider promising ways forward under the theme of "Charting a New Path to Combat Corruption". You are here, as well, for the 11th Annual Conference of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities. Despite your wide-ranging backgrounds, your goal is shared: how best to prevent and combat corruption, a problem that impedes the development, stability and well-being of societies and peoples around the world. This symposium is co-hosted by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption, the ICAC, and the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities. As you all know, our ICAC is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For half a century, the ICAC has championed the fight against corruption in Hong Kong. It has also worked closely with its counterparts around the world to tackle corruption. Indeed, the ICAC currently holds the presidency of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities.  Under the unique "one country, two systems" principle, Hong Kong maintains a robust regulatory regime in line with international standards, and is renowned globally for its clean and efficient government, level-playing field for doing business, sound rule of law, a judiciary with independent judicial power, and zero tolerance for corruption. We are also at the forefront of the international fight against corruption. International surveys consistently confirm Hong Kong's success in tackling corruption. The World Justice Project rated us ninth, overall, in "absence of corruption", out of more than 140 jurisdictions in 2023. Similarly, Hong Kong was ranked 14th out of 180 countries and territories in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index last year. These and other standings underscore Hong Kong's clean governance, as well as the ICAC's laudable anti-corruption efforts.  The people of Hong Kong substantiate these findings. The latest ICAC Annual Survey shows that Hong Kong citizens have a zero tolerance for corruption, with 98% of survey respondents indicating that they had not personally encountered corruption in the past 12 months. It is a priority of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to sustain our pioneering role in combatting corruption. We are pleased, and proud, to back the ICAC in widening its international network and co-operating with overseas counterparts. We are committed, as well, to ensuring that our legal framework and anti-corruption institutions, as well as public and private sector governance, reflect the highest international obligations and standards, particularly those set out in the United Nations Convention against Corruption. China, our country, has designated the ICAC as an authority under the convention, helping other economies under the convention develop and implement preventive measures. And the ICAC, in its work as president of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities since 2022, has overseen the association's membership soar from 120 agencies in different countries and regions to more than 170 now. This phenomenal growth has allowed the association to extend its work internationally. In just a moment, the ICAC will conclude the Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs & Crime and the anti-corruption authorities of Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.  The presence of the UN Office on Drugs & Crime, as guardian of the convention, and the national anti-corruption authorities of various countries here in Hong Kong to finalise bilateral agreements with the ICAC, exemplify the international co-operation and exchange that can make a difference, regionally and globally. I congratulate the signatories on their impressive progress, and I look forward to more anti-graft partnerships between Hong Kong and other international jurisdictions. Ladies and gentlemen, corruption knows no boundaries. It is a plague on different economies, institutions and communities. It has a disrupting, and dispiriting, impact on every aspect of people's lives. Everyone here is fully aware of that overwhelming reality, because everyone here is working, hard, smart and relentlessly, to overcome it. In marking International Anti-Corruption Day, last December, the UN reiterated that "only through co-operation and the involvement of each and every person and institution, can we overcome the negative impact of this crime." And it is why this symposium was initiated, 24 years ago: to bring economies, governments, institutions and businesses together, imbued with the indomitable spirit that we will - that we must - prevail. ​Your participation in this symposium speaks of our collective determination. Chief Executive John Lee gave these remarks at the 8th ICAC Symposium on May 22.
Chief Executive John Lee today met Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna Ghada Fathi Waly.      Mr Lee welcomed Ms Waly as she and a delegation are visiting Hong Kong to attend the 8th Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Symposium that began today, and sign the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the UNODC with the ICAC to strengthen collaboration on international anti-corruption. He said the UNODC’s dedication to leading its member countries to combat drugs, organised crime and terrorism has been highly valued, adding that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will continue to work with the agency to promote experience-sharing among their anti-graft counterparts and advance the international anti-corruption cause together.      Noting that Hong Kong is one of the cleanest cities in the world, Mr Lee attributed it to the Hong Kong SAR Government’s determination, a robust legal system and public support. He emphasised that the ICAC strives to strengthen liaison with overseas counterparts to push forward the effective implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, promoting Hong Kong's anti-corruption achievements to the global community and the international graft-fighting collaborations. As part of these efforts, the ICAC has joined the UNODC's Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities to share its anti-corruption experiences with other representatives from various places. The Hong Kong International Academy Against Corruption, established earlier this year, co-organised an international anti-corruption training programme with the network to provide a learning platform for graft fighters from all over the world. The Chief Executive noted that with the support of the central government, the ICAC Commissioner has been President of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities since 2022. He also explained that the ICAC co-hosted the symposium with the association to assemble representatives of anti-corruption agencies and experts around the world to exchange views on global strategies in anti-graft work.