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2020

24/05/2020
Hong Kong residents’ rights and freedoms will be unaffected by the National People’s Congress’ deliberation of a decision to establish and improve at the national level the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the city to safeguard national security. The Government made the statement in response to foreign politicians' comments on the national security law. It said that every country has a right and duty to protect national security and sovereignty and to suggest that the city’s sovereign, China, does not have the right to legislate to protect national security in Hong Kong smacks of double standards and hypocrisy.  The statement pointed out that even the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights stipulate that international covenants on rights and freedoms cannot undermine national security. Much of the criticism and commentary from politicians and pundits are no more than alarmist speculation and innuendo that completely ignore the constitutional reality that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of the Mainland, the Government said. It emphasised that the city cannot and must never become a base for subversive activities or organisations seeking to destabilise the country. The proposed law will only target acts of secession, subversion, terrorist activities as well as activities interfering with Hong Kong's internal affairs by foreign or external forces and that the vast majority of law-abiding Hong Kong residents, including overseas investors, have nothing to fear. The Government noted that in recent days, violent protesters have returned to wreak havoc yet again and such protests have had a massive impact on the city’s economy and social stability and cannot be allowed to continue. It explained the decision by the National People's Congress to enact the national security law will establish and improve the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for the city to safeguard national security and will make Hong Kong a safe city. The legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the law and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, will not be affected. Hong Kong will remain a free, cosmopolitan, open and welcoming city under the rule of law. The city’s high degree of autonomy and the cardinal principle of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" as enshrined in the Basic Law will remain intact, it said, adding that the long-term stability and prosperity of this vibrant international metropolis under the unique and well-tried "one country, two systems" will be further assured.
21/05/2020
Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-keung today met representatives from four media organisations to listen to their opinions on the recent problems encountered by journalists when covering police operations. During the meeting attended by the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, Hong Kong News Executives' Association and Hong Kong Federation of Journalists, views were exchanged on issues such as difficulties encountered, safety problems, press arrangements, co-ordination and identification, and the communication mechanism. Police enforcement action in the vicinity of Mong Kok on May 10 was also discussed. Mr Tang noted the incidents that occurred were not satisfactory and apologised to journalists who felt insulted, adding that the force would deal with the incident seriously and look for improvements. It would investigate the incident in a fair and impartial manner and further information from the associations would be welcome, he noted. Mr Tang also said Police will increase the Force Media Liaison Cadre's manpower to strengthen officers’ capability in co-ordinating media activities at large-scale public order events, and will enhance the cadre’s communication with the journalists at operations. The commissioner concluded the meeting by thanking the representatives for the frank exchange, adding that the meeting was only a start and that the force would maintain communication with the media on problems of mutual concern. The media's opinions and concerns would also be conveyed to frontline police officers to facilitate media reporting, on the condition that it did not affect police operations and safety. It is hoped that the force will maintain a harmonious relationship with the media on the basis of mutual respect and understanding, Mr Tang added. Regarding an open letter issued to the Commissioner of Police last night by the Ming Pao Staff Association, Next Media Trade Union, RTHK Programme Staff Union and CitizenNews Staff Union, Police said they were willing to arrange meetings with the unions’ representatives and will take forward specific arrangements in due course.
20/05/2020
Secretary for Security John Lee said the Independent Police Complaints Council's (IPCC) thematic report on the public order events arising from the fugitive bill is balanced and factual. Mr Lee made the statement today while addressing the media at the Legislative Council Complex. He said: "The report was written based on a lot of information. It is written after reviewing over 20,000 photographs, over another 20,000 video images, and as a result of receiving information through over 10,000 emails and 600 WhatsApp messages. "Anybody had been welcomed to provide information and a lot of the information that the Independent Police Complaints Council had looked at came from members of the public, different sources." Mr Lee emphasised that the IPCC spent 10 months to compile the report which made criticism against Police as well as the hooligans and rioters. "It is a fair reflection of facts that had appeared in front of all of us in the past 10 months. "So I urge everyone to read carefully this very lengthy report which lays out basically the facts for you to see and also all the rationality that they made use of to come to the conclusion."
19/05/2020
The Government today announced the mechanism for legal practitioners, arbitrators or mediators providing necessary professional services in the Mainland, Macau or Taiwan to apply for exemption from the compulsory quarantine arrangement.  It said the Department of Justice has started processing applications. In accordance with the amended Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation, the Chief Secretary may designate any person or category of people for exemption from quarantine if their travelling is necessary for purposes relating to manufacturing operations in the interest of Hong Kong's economic development. The Chief Secretary has exempted two more categories of people from the quarantine arrangement. They include an arbitrator, mediator or qualified legal practitioner acting as a counsel for a party in arbitration, mediation or litigation proceedings, who returns to Hong Kong from the Mainland, Macau or Taiwan after provision of services. The other category is an arbitrator, mediator or qualified legal practitioner acting as a counsel for party in arbitration, mediation or litigation proceedings, who travels from the Mainland, Macau or Taiwan to Hong Kong to provide services. An exempted person must only travel to and stay in the area or city where the professional services are provided, and must take every precautionary measure to ensure personal hygiene and avoid unnecessary social contact whilst there. After returning to Hong Kong, the exempted person will be subject to medical surveillance arranged by the Department of Health for a period of 14 days. Currently, travellers to the Mainland would still be subject to the 14-day compulsory quarantine requirement imposed by Mainland authorities. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is discussing with Mainland authorities the mutual recognition of COVID-19 testing results conducted by recognised medical laboratories, with a view to exempting the quarantine requirement for Hong Kong travellers to the Mainland.
18/05/2020
A chartered flight taking 249 Hong Kong residents stranded in India back home departed from New Delhi at around 11pm last night. The flight arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport this morning. Seven children under two years old were included in the list of passengers. Upon arrival, the returnees proceeded to the Department of Health's Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at AsiaWorld-Expo by coaches for compulsory COVID-19 testing. After their deep throat saliva samples are collected, they will be transferred by coaches to the quarantine centre at Chun Yeung Estate for a 14-day compulsory quarantine period. The cost of the chartered flight was borne by the users. As the overall cost was lower than expected due to more people taking the flight than originally planned, the cost to be paid by each passenger is around $3,800.
15/05/2020
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) The Government today accepted all 52 recommendations made by the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) in its Thematic Study Report on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response. Chief Executive Carrie Lam told the media that she and the Secretary for Security attach a lot of importance to the report and each of the recommendations. “That's why, broadly speaking, I accept all these recommendations and have asked the Secretary for Security to personally chair a task force to look at how each and every recommendation should be followed through. “I have explained at length the role of the Police Force. They are there to enforce the law, they have no other purposes. They are not involved in politics. But if anybody breaches the law, it is the duty of police officers to enforce the law. So throughout almost one year of social unrest, that is the primary duty of the Hong Kong Police Force.” While Mrs Lam conceded that Police could have handled certain situations better, she emphasised that the Government will strive to follow the recommendations as well as areas of work that she has outlined. “In the course of carrying out duties, given the very complicated and difficult circumstances, there were of course situations that could be handled better. There were of course deficiencies in communications, in staff deployment and in other things as pointed out by the IPCC in its thematic report. So that is where we should find room for improvement. “As far as social tension (is concerned), I think it will continue because, one, Hong Kong is a very free society. Secondly, we are still faced with a lot of confrontations, either in the Legislative Council or in the district councils. “So I am not naive to think that the publication of the report or my response to the report - even accepting all the recommendations for implementation - will put an end to this social unrest. “But at least we will make every attempt to follow through the recommendations and also the several areas of work that I have outlined.” Click here for more details about the report.
15/05/2020
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said several distinguished members of the community who had originally agreed to join an independent committee to review the causes of last year's social unrest had changed their minds due to personal reasons. Speaking to the media, Mrs Lam said their reasons may be related to the fear of intimidation and doxxing. “As I understand it, the reason why rather distinguished members of the community who had originally agreed to take up the task of either being a chairman or member of this independent review committee subsequently pulled out on personal reasons, I guess, was the fear of intimidation, the fear of doxxing on the Internet, and the fear of their relatives, friends or businesses being affected. “So this is one of the very sad things that we have seen, in this almost one year of social unrest, that people tend to use force against people who have a different political stance or a different opinion, or simply because those people are supporting the role of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government or the Police Force.”
15/05/2020
The Security Bureau today said it is making preparations to convene a task force to study the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) report as soon as practicable.  The IPCC today published the Thematic Study Report on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response. The Chief Executive has requested the Secretary for Security to establish and personally supervise a task force to study the report and follow up on its recommendations, as well as to communicate with relevant departments and organisations. The bureau said it will convene a task force meeting as soon as practicable with a view to developing a work plan and identifying the priority items in respect of the 52 recommendations put forward by the IPCC. Task force members shall include representatives from Police and other departments and organisations relevant to the review items. The bureau noted that the report has proposed a series of improvement measures which should be helpful to Police to better handle future public order events and further enhance their law enforcement efforts. The task force will carefully study and effectively follow up on the IPCC's 52 recommendations, report regularly to the Chief Executive, and consider making public the progress made when appropriate to enhance transparency, it added. Meanwhile, Police will seriously examine the IPCC’s report and participate in and fully collaborate with the task force to study in detail and follow up on the 52 recommendations proposed in the report.
15/05/2020
Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said the Independent Police Complaints Council’s (IPCC) thematic report on the public order events arising from the fugitive bill is comprehensive, objective, fact-based and weighty. She made the response following the council’s submission of its Thematic Study Report on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response. Mrs Lam said: “When the IPCC decided to undertake a proactive study in July last year, I welcomed its decision at that time and pledged that the Government would fully co-operate with the IPCC. "The IPCC has examined a large volume of information and has made detailed and objective representation of facts in the report. The report is comprehensive, objective, fact-based and weighty.” She added the Government accepts the 52 recommendations proposed by the council. “I have requested the Secretary for Security to set up a task force and to supervise it personally to study and follow up on every recommendation, as well as to consult the IPCC when necessary and report to me on a regular basis.” Mrs Lam also considered that Police can accord priority to dealing with several areas of the recommendations, including media arrangements in large-scale public order events, co-ordination among Police themselves and with other departments, dissemination of information to the public, temporary detention facilities and police identification. “The rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s success, and one of the indispensable elements of the rule of law is that members of the public have to abide by the law." The Chief Executive stressed that she, the Government and Police will resolutely say no to any violation of the law, and ensure that citizens will continue to enjoy their freedoms and rights within the legal boundaries. She thanked IPCC Chairman Anthony Neoh, all council members and the secretariat for their hard work in preparing the report over the past few months.
13/05/2020
The first chartered flight to take Hong Kong residents stranded in India home is tentatively scheduled to depart New Delhi on May 17 at the earliest. The flight will first assist Hong Kong residents who are now located in New Delhi and those in its surrounding areas with special needs, such as people with illness, pregnant women and children as well as family members travelling with them. In the past few days, the Immigration Department has individually contacted assistance seekers to confirm their wishes to take the chartered flight and to obtain their personal information for applying for travel permission from the local government. As the department is still contacting the assistance seekers concerned, the final number of passengers to be carried by the flight is yet to be confirmed, though it is expected to be more than 200. The cost of taking the flight is estimated to be about $8,000 per person at most and will be borne by the users. The exact date and time of departure are still subject to the approval time of and the facilitation provided by the local government, land traffic situations and relevant permissions received by airlines. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, the people taking the flight will proceed to the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at AsiaWorld-Expo for compulsory COVID-19 testing. After their samples are collected, the returnees will be transferred to the quarantine centre at Chun Yeung Estate for a 14-day quarantine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India has banned all international flight movements since late March. As of May 10, the department successfully contacted about 3,500 Hong Kong residents stranded in India, who requested for assistance in returning to Hong Kong. The Government understands that there are still many Hong Kong residents stranded in different areas of the country and will continue to liaise with them closely and assist them in returning to Hong Kong in batches subject to the circumstances. It will contact them as soon as further information is available.

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