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The Police Narcotics Bureau announced that it made its largest drug seizure of the year after it raided a drug trafficking syndicate’s main drugs storage centre yesterday and seized $195 million worth of suspected methamphetamine and heroin. Briefing the media on the case this afternoon, Police Narcotics Bureau Acting Chief Superintendent Ng Wing-sze explained that the syndicate’s largest store is in Cheung Sha Wan and Police eventually identified it after it conducted five operations that included arrest actions taken between May and July. She pointed out that during that period, Narcotics Bureau officers raided five drug stores located in Hung Hom, Sheung Shui, Fanling, Ma On Shan and Tseung Kwan O. In the course of the arrest actions, Police altogether arrested eight local men and four local women aged from 16 to 45. The individuals are suspected of trafficking in dangerous drugs, manufacturing dangerous drugs, conspiracy of trafficking in dangerous drugs and obstructing police officers. Police seized a total of 96.3kg of drugs including heroin, cocaine, ketamine, and “ice” (methamphetamine). Ms Ng said: “After the five operations, (including) arrest actions taken (in) between about three months, we continued to investigate and eventually we identified the largest store of the syndicate which (was) in Cheung Sha Wan and that is why we took overt action yesterday. “We arrested a local man, aged 22, for the offences of trafficking in dangerous drugs. “In the arrest action we took yesterday, altogether we seized 234kg of drugs, including 148kg of ‘ice’ and 86kg of heroin. “Actually the seizure of heroin and ‘ice’ is the largest seizure up to now this year.”
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today said enforcement action will be taken against anyone who commits an offence regardless of their background or profession. Mr Tang made the statement in response to media questions about the arrest of four University of Hong Kong students by Police’s National Security Department today on suspicion of advocating terrorism. He said freedom of speech is safeguarded in Hong Kong but it is not without limits. “Freedom of speech is safeguarded by the Basic Law and also the National Security Law, but if you have committed an offence, there is no excuse. “Whatever background you (have), whatever (kind of) professional you are, we will do it fairly and impartially in accordance with evidence.” The security chief emphasised that any allegation of a crime will be investigated and the culprits will be arrested and prosecuted based on evidence. There is an element of a terrorist attack in the Hong Kong University students' case and the details will be disclosed during the trial period, Mr Tang added.
Police will endeavour to foster a stronger partnership with schools through school liaison officers and educate students via talks or other activities on the harm of terrorism to the community, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung said. Mr Tang told legislators today that the Police will also advise students on ways to identify extreme ideologies and the precautionary measures they should take. He pointed out that, similar to the trend of global terrorist activities, local radical organisations recruit members mostly via social media. There are also signs that some people are introducing terrorism into schools or recruiting students from schools to take part in terrorist activities. Student concern groups, political bodies or even tutorial schools were seen in recent years to have wantonly instilled improper values among students and sent out false or biased messages. They attempted to incite the students’ hatred against the country and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and even advocated resorting to violence and illegal acts for political ends.  Mr Tang explained that such groups promoted extreme ideologies and recruited students by various means such as producing biased teaching materials, setting up street booths and making use of the Internet. The security chief cautioned that ideologies endangering national security are still infiltrating via the media, culture and arts and other soft resistance means to poison the minds of young people. He stressed that the public should stay on guard that some people are trying to make heroic, glorify or downplay acts of violent attacks. On preventing the infiltration of terrorism into schools, Mr Tang said Police have all along strived to strengthen their efforts in gathering counter-terrorism intelligence for early identification and deterrence of acts by violent radicals that endanger public safety. Publicity and education are equally important for instilling correct values and law-abiding awareness among young people as early as possible, he added.
Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip today visited the Government Flying Service Headquarters to meet the management and staff of various grades and learn more about their work. Mr Nip first took a helicopter ride at the department's helipad in Wan Chai, during which he participated in the aircrew's work in flight and watched a simulated coastal rescue. He was pleased to learn that frontline aircrew conduct these simulated drills and training regularly in order to enhance emergency response capabilities and efficiency. Mr Nip toured the hangar and the Air Command & Control Centre at the department's Chek Lap Kok headquarters, where he was briefed on the aircraft fleet, related equipment as well as maintenance activities, and how colleagues deployed aircraft and manpower in accordance with various operational needs and emergency responses. The civil service chief then met Controller of Government Flying Service West Wu and directorate staff for an update on the work of various divisions and the challenges ahead. He also met staff representatives of various grades and exchanged views on matters of concern. So far, more than 90% of the department's staff have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Mr Nip said he was glad to know that the department has been maintaining strong awareness of epidemic prevention. He also encouraged colleagues to work with dedication and continue to provide quality and efficient aviation support for the public as well as government departments.
An organisation and its members remain criminally liable for the offence committed despite disbandment or the resignation of its members. Police made the statement following the Civil Human Rights Front's announcement of its disbandment today, noting that it had requested the group in April to submit information on its members, activities and funds in accordance with the Societies Ordinance. However, the group failed to submit the information within the designated period. Police are now taking follow-up action on the organisation’s violation of the ordinance. The group has been operating illegally because it had neither registered with the Companies Registry as a company nor with the Police Licensing Office as a legal society since its establishment in 2002, the force added.
Forty citizens who helped Police fight crime were commended at the Good Citizen Award Presentation Ceremony today. The awardees helped Police detect dozens of cases related to fraud, burglary, animal abuse and wounding. Some awardees made their contributions in life-saving. The youngest award recipient Liu Wing-yan, 14, spotted a man secretly taking upskirt photos on a Light Rail train and immediately alerted the victim to report to Police. The man was later convicted of outraging public decency and sentenced to 14 weeks’ imprisonment with a two-year suspended sentence. Speaking at the ceremony, Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee praised the awardees for their law-abiding consciousness, sense of commitment and courage. He pointed out that it was the first time for the ceremony to adopt the anti-deception theme and to launch the Good Corporate Award to commend companies which have been proactively assisting Police in preventing and investigating scams. The force encourages corporations to provide training for their employees to enhance their capacities to guard against fraud, so that fraud reports and interceptions can be made earlier at the corporate level, Mr Siu added. A new Good Citizen Alliance concept was also introduced, signifying that good citizens work together in fighting crime and help each other as well as promoting righteousness in the community. Police’s anti-scam mascot The Little Grape also made its debut at the ceremony. Organised by the Police Public Relations Branch, the Good Citizen Award is sponsored by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Fight Crime Committee.
The Department of Justice announced today that Principal Government Counsel Maggie Yang has been appointed Director of Public Prosecutions to oversee its Prosecutions Division. The Director of Public Prosecutions is responsible for directing public prosecutions and advising on the development, enforcement and implementation of criminal law. Ms Yang was selected for the position through a promotion and open recruitment exercise. Welcoming the appointment, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said Ms Yang is well qualified to take forward the Prosecutions Division’s important work with her solid professional knowledge and experience in criminal law and strong leadership skills. She also described Ms Yang as a lawyer of outstanding abilities and integrity. “I am confident that she is competent to lead the Prosecutions Division to rise to the challenges ahead and discharge her role as the Director of Public Prosecutions in a fair and impartial manner.” Click here for Ms Yang’s biography.
The Government today said the National Flag & National Emblem (Amendment) Bill 2021 will be gazetted on August 13 and introduced into the Legislative Council for first and second readings on August 18. The bill aims to make clear the requirements in respect of the use of the national flag and national emblem, including the etiquette to be followed in a flag-raising ceremony and the recovery mechanism. Its other goal is to clarify the provisions relating to desecration offences and provide for education on and promotion of the national flag and national emblem. On October 17, 2020, the 13th National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) endorsed the amendments to the National Flag Law and National Emblem Law which came into force on January 1 this year. Through the enactment of the National Flag & National Emblem Ordinance in July 1997, both national laws had been applied locally by legislation. In light of the recent amendments to the two national laws by the NPCSC, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has the constitutional responsibility to implement the two amended national laws locally. The Government stated that it proposes to implement both amended national laws in Hong Kong by amending the ordinance instead of by promulgation. Such an approach is consistent with the “one country, two systems” principle, it explained. The bill’s legislative principle is to reflect the provisions, principles and spirit of the amended national flag and emblem laws whilst taking into account the common law system and actual circumstances in Hong Kong. Other principles include safeguarding the proper use and preserving the dignity of the national flag and national emblem, which are the symbols and signs of the country, so as to promote respect for the national flag and national emblem, enhance a sense of national identity among citizens and promote patriotism. The Government noted that members of the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs had expressed support for the proposed direction of the amendments to the ordinance during a consultation in February this year. It added that it will fully complement the council’s work in scrutinising the bill to strive for its early passage.
The Government announced today that the Chief Executive-in-Council has decided to accept in full the recommendations in the Report on the Grade Structure Review for the Disciplined Services Grades. The recommendations were made by the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries & Conditions of Service (SCDS) and the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries & Conditions of Service (SDCS). The Chief Executive-in-Council also decided that, subject to the Legislative Council Finance Committee’s approval, the recommendations on salary and increment in the report as well as the normal conversion arrangement for serving staff in the affected ranks should be implemented from the first day of the month of approval by the committee. The Civil Service Bureau noted that the Chief Executive-in-Council considered a number of factors in its decision, including the credibility of the SCDS and SDCS as independent advisory bodies as well as the justifications of the recommendations. The views of the departmental managements and staff sides, the staff morale of the disciplined services, the financial implications for the Government and the community's views were also considered. The Government will seek the Legislative Council's approval as soon as possible. The Government sincerely thanked the SCDS for its in-depth analysis and thorough consultation with stakeholders in the course of the Grade Structure Review and the pragmatic recommendations it has come up with. It is also grateful for the SDCS' advice on the pay and conditions of service of the disciplined services departments/agencies heads, and all the stakeholders for their valuable input. The SCDS had earlier submitted the report on the disciplined services grade structure review to the Chief Executive. The review recommendations cover pay, allowances, grade structure, manpower support and conditions of service of the disciplined services. The bureau has consulted stakeholders including the departmental managements of the disciplined services and the staff sides of the relevant grades on the report's findings and recommendations and sought the Chief Executive-in-Council’s decision on the way forward.
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today visited the Fire Services Department headquarters and Tsim Tung Fire Station to learn more about the department's work and inspect the equipment for fire and ambulance services. At the department’s headquarters, Mr Tang learnt about its work on enhancing fire safety and measures to improve the fire safety of old buildings. He also found out more about the education and publicity work on community emergency preparedness, and the development of emergency ambulance services.     Mr Tang saw a demonstration of the system for providing post-dispatch advice at the Fire Services Communications Centre. Introduced in October 2018, the system allows the centre’s personnel to provide callers with first-aid advice with the assistance of a computer system, and helps stabilise the patient's condition before the ambulance crew arrives.     The security chief then visited Tsim Tung Fire Station to inspect its equipment for fire and ambulance services and learnt how the department utilises technology to enhance emergency services. At a sharing session with the department’s personnel, he thanked them for their continued perseverance and united and committed efforts to fulfil the prime mission of saving lives in emergencies.