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Customs today learnt that an Assistant Trade Controls Officer has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. It said the officer works at an office located on the 20th floor of the Trade & Industry Tower in Kai Tak. The floor is not open to the public. Apart from working at the office, the officer is also responsible for visiting traders’ premises to conduct inspections and certificate verifications. He last performed his duties on July 14 and felt unwell in the evening. He was sent to a hospital after seeking medical treatment at a private clinic and was notified this morning to have preliminarily tested positive for the virus. The officer, who has no recent travel history, is being treated under isolation and in a stable condition. He has been wearing surgical masks when performing duties both in and outside the office and has properly maintained social distancing with people he has had contact with. His body temperature was normal when undergoing temperature screening during work. Customs has been closely co-operating with the Centre for Health Protection on the centre’s epidemiological investigations. Colleagues working with the officer are asymptomatic and the department has liaised with the centre for arranging those officers to undergo COVID-19 testing. The concerned floor will also undergo a thorough cleaning and sterilisation. Customs has remained highly vigilant since the epidemic broke out. It has stepped up the cleaning and sterilising measures for all working locations and will remind its officers to strictly comply with the centre’s hygiene measures. The department will also remind its officers to consult a doctor promptly if they have any symptoms of discomfort.
A male Senior Immigration Assistant stationed at the Control Support Section has tested positive for COVID-19, the Immigration Department announced today. The staff member is mainly responsible for providing support services at the 14th and 16th floors of the Wan Chai Immigration Tower. Both floors are not open to the public. The department said the staff member, who has no recent travel history, wore a mask when performing duties and that his body temperature was normal, adding that he followed disease prevention measures at work. He last performed duties on July 10 and sought medical treatment at a clinic. He was notified of the test result this evening. The Centre for Health Protection is investigating the cause of his infection and whether he had been in close contact with other people. The department has also arranged thorough cleansing and sterilisation for the staff member's workplace. It will continue to maintain close liaison with the centre and proactively co-operate with its quarantine work, which includes arranging related immigration staff members to undergo COVID-19 testing. The department emphasised that it has been strictly implementing disease prevention measures, including measuring the body temperature of people before they enter the building, providing employees with masks and other protective equipment, requiring employees to wear masks when performing duties, and stepping up cleaning and sterilising measures. It has reminded its staff to pay attention to personal hygiene and stay vigilant.
A 27-year-old male acting Senior Immigration Assistant stationed at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, the Immigration Department said today. The officer concerned is mainly responsible for conducting immigration clearance for passengers at the control point. He has been wearing a mask when performing duties, his body temperature was normal and he followed relevant disease prevention measures at work. He last performed his duties on July 8 and took scheduled leave on July 9 and 10. He sought medical treatment at a government clinic on July 9 and submitted a test sample the following day. He was notified of the preliminarily positive test result late last night and was sent to the hospital for treatment this morning. He has no recent travel history and his workplace has been fully sterilised. The Centre for Health Protection is investigating the cause of his infection and whether he has been in close contact with other people. The department emphasised that it has been strictly implementing various disease prevention measures, including measuring body temperature of staff before commencing duties, providing masks and other protective equipment, requiring employees to wear masks when performing duties, and stepping up cleaning and sterilising measures at work. It explained that it has reminded all staff to pay attention to personal hygiene and stay vigilant, adding it will maintain close liaison with the centre and co-operate with the centre's quarantine work.
Customs today announced that it arrested a man and seized about 10 million suspected illicit cigarettes at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound. The cigarettes have an estimated market value of about $27 million and a duty potential of about $19 million. Officers found the batch of suspected illicit cigarettes inside 1,003 cartons in a seaborne transhipment container they selected for inspection through risk assessment. The container, declared as carrying karaoke players, arrived from Singapore and was headed for the Philippines via Hong Kong. A 38-year-old man in charge of a logistics company was subsequently arrested and an investigation is ongoing. Call the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or send an email to report illicit cigarette activities.
The Government today announced the launch of a three-month public consultation on the proposed introduction of offences against voyeurism, intimate prying, non-consensual photography of intimate parts and the distribution of related images. It made the statement after accepting the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission in its report on voyeurism and non-consensual upskirt photography. The Government said it has proposed to introduce criminal offences against voyeurism and non-consensual photography of intimate parts, including the taking of still photographs and videos. It also proposed to introduce a criminal offence of intimate prying irrespective of the purpose. To give further protection to victims, the Government also proposed the introduction of a criminal offence against the distribution of surreptitious intimate images obtained from the above proposed offences and another criminal offence against the non-consensual distribution of relevant images in cases where consent was given for the taking of such intimate images but not for their distribution. Additionally, the Government proposed to include all these new offences in the specified list of sexual offences under the Sexual Conviction Record Check Scheme. There is currently no specific offence against voyeurism or non-consensual photography of intimate parts, such as upskirt photography. These acts can only be prosecuted with other charges such as loitering and disorder in public places. The penalties are relatively lower and not commensurate with the severity of voyeurism and surreptitious intimate photography, which often violate the victim's right to privacy and sexual autonomy as well as cause long-term distress, humiliation, harassment and stress to the victim. People can express their views by emailing email@example.com on or before October 7. Click here for the consultation paper.
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said the national security law is a very important piece of legislation and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will vigorously implement it. Ahead of the Executive Council meeting this morning, Mrs Lam told reporters that the Hong Kong SAR Government has taken swift actions to implement the national security law since it took effect on June 30. Mrs Lam said the national security committee, which she chairs, held its first meeting on July 6, with the National Security Adviser appointed by the central government Luo Huining in attendance. She pointed out that specialised enforcement and prosecution departments in Police and the Department of Justice have been set up. On key personnel appointments, Chief Executive's Office Director Chan Kwok-ki has been appointed as the committee’s Secretary General, while Edwina Lau has been appointed as the head of Police’s department for safeguarding national security, she said. The first batch of designated judges at the magistracy level has also been appointed to handle the first case of offence brought under the law. Additionally, the committee made implementation rules for Police to carry out the seven measures under Article 43 of the law. Mrs Lam said: “The central government has placed full trust and faith in the Hong Kong SAR. So the Hong Kong SAR Government will vigorously implement this law. “I forewarn those radicals not to attempt to violate this law or cross the red line because the consequences of breaching this law are very serious.” She noted the way the law has been enacted is different from local legislation and that it is understandable that Hong Kong people have concerns or queries about the content of the law as well as its implementation. "We will do our utmost to explain to the people of Hong Kong what this law is all about. "What this law is all about is very simple. It aims to prevent, curb and punish four types of acts and activities that will endanger national security of the country and also of course, in Hong Kong. "It only targets a very small minority of people who breach the law. At the same time, it will protect the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong citizens in exercising their legitimate rights and freedoms." The Chief Executive added she is pleased that there is an increasing appreciation of the law’s positive effect, particularly in restoring stability in Hong Kong as reflected by recent market sentiment. “Surely this is not doom and gloom for Hong Kong. I am sure with the passage of time and effort and the facts being laid out, confidence will grow in 'one country, two systems' and in Hong Kong's future."
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) Chief Executive Carrie Lam today refuted allegations that the national security law enacted in Hong Kong signifies the death of “one country, two systems” or that the principle is being put in jeopardy. Speaking to reporters ahead of the Executive Council meeting this morning, Mrs Lam noted that, on the contrary, the national security law aims to affirm and improve the implementation of “one country, two systems” by addressing risks of undermining national security, which is a matter within the purview of the central government. “Enacting national security legislation to protect sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity is invariably the power and duty of the state in all countries. 'One country' is the foundation of 'two systems' and this foundation will be seriously shaken if territorial integrity is being compromised and national security is put at risk. This is a red line which should be very familiar to many of us and it should not be crossed.” She said given the escalating national security risks since June last year, and the inability of both the Government and the Legislative Council to enact local legislation, the central government had to take resolute actions to safeguard the country's interests and preserve “one country, two systems”. “In discharging the central government's responsibility over national security, the national security law provides for the setting up of a Central People’s Government office on national security in Hong Kong and reserving for the central government jurisdiction to handle offences under very specified circumstances and I believe these specified circumstances will be rare and through a very clear approval mechanism. "These are all legitimate acts of the central government to fulfil the 'one country' requirement under the principle of 'one country, two systems'." Regarding the allegation that the national security law is draconian and will undermine people's freedoms and spread fear amongst Hong Kong citizens, Mrs Lam said the law actually removes fear and lets Hong Kong people return to a normal, peaceful life. “First of all I have not seen widespread fear amongst Hong Kong people in the last week and my response is - as some of the legal experts have commented in the past few days - this national security law is actually relatively mild as far as national security laws are concerned. “First, its scope is very defined and confined. It only deals with four types of acts and activities endangering national security and the offences are clearly defined in law. The legal principles that we attach a lot of importance to, like presumption of innocence and no retrospective effect and so on, they are being upheld. “The law respects and protects human rights as provided for under the Basic Law and relevant provisions in the two international covenants as applied to Hong Kong. “So I would submit that instead of undermining people's freedom, the national security law will restore stability and help ensure that the great majority of Hong Kong people could exercise their rights and freedoms without being intimidated or attacked. “So instead of spreading fear the law actually removes fear and lets Hong Kong people return to a normal, peaceful life. And Hong Kong will resume her status as one of the safest cities in the world.” Mrs Lam also pointed out that the respect and protection of human rights is also demonstrated in the making of the implementation rules announced yesterday. “The rules were made by the Chief Executive together with the national security committee at its inaugural meeting yesterday, and they laid down very clear processes, prerequisites and authorisations before Police in the National Security Department can resort to the measures and power under Article 43 of the law.” She also dismissed untrue claims that the national security law was drafted in secret in Beijing and that the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Chief Executive were kept in the dark. “My response is first, this is a piece of national law concerning matters outside of Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. It is like defence and foreign affairs. “Second, it is in line with Basic Law Article 18, which provides for the listing of national laws to Annex III and then promulgated for implementation in the Hong Kong SAR. “Third, I have to admit that by now, it should be wishful thinking for us to expect LegCo in the current political climate to pass any national security law. “Fourth, the National People’s Congress (NPC) is the highest organ of power in the People's Republic of China and has the authority to enact laws on national security, just like any other governments all over the world. “And fifth, the NPC Standing Committee in preparing the draft legislation under delegated authority has actually listened to views expressed by many people and has taken into account Hong Kong's actual situation. “Specifically, the NPC Standing Committee has listened to views of the Chief Executive, that is myself, and Hong Kong SAR Government key officials several times and taken on board our suggestions. “Therefore, it is much regretted that my comment made on June 23 in this forum in response to a media enquiry that the Hong Kong SAR Government has not seen complete details of the proposed legislation was misrepresented or deliberately exaggerated as the Hong Kong SAR Government being totally kept in the dark. That is not the truth.” The Chief Executive added that the Government will continue to explain the provisions in the law and put in place effective enforcement mechanisms. “We will also enhance publicity and school education to better Hong Kong people's understanding of this important piece of legislation, so that they will not be misled.”
More than half of the measures for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong are practices that currently exist in Hong Kong’s laws, Secretary for Security John Lee said today. Article 43 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region stipulates various measures Hong Kong may take when handling cases concerning offences that endanger national security. Speaking to the media after attending the Legislative Council joint panel meeting this evening, Mr Lee said: “The seven measures that were announced yesterday and gazetted, actually among the seven measures, four measures are current practices in Hong Kong laws.” Citing the power to search, Mr Lee explained that such power will be conducted under a warrant issued by the Judiciary. “In general situations it will be conducted under a warrant issued by the court. But in exceptional circumstances - where evidence may be destroyed in a short period of time or the person responsible may have a chance to escape - when police officers are facing these situations they can search the premises without applying for a search warrant. “Such practice actually exists in current laws such as when Police have to do similar things under the Firearms & Ammunition Ordinance or when the Independent Commission Against Corruption exercise their powers under relevant laws,” he added. The security chief emphasised that there are checks and balances in all these measures, adding that the procedures to implement them do comply with the protection of human rights and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng today said the media will not be affected by the national security law if they discharge their duties properly. Ms Cheng made the statement after attending a radio programme this morning. She said: “A proper discharge of your duties, fairly and objectively in reporting news that have happened cannot possibly cause you into the remit of violating the articles in the national security law. “In the national security law, there is a very clear requirement of the intent, so if you are objectively, dutifully and professionally reporting the news, there is nothing that is affecting your duties now.”
Chief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the State Council's decision today to appoint Luo Huining as the National Security Adviser to the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The appointment was made in accordance with the relevant provisions of The Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In a statement, Mrs Lam also welcomed the appointments made by the State Council on the personnel of the office established by the Central People's Government (CPG) in the Hong Kong SAR for safeguarding national security. Zheng Yanxiong was appointed as head of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, while Li Jiangzhou and Sun Qingye were appointed as deputy heads. "I welcome the appointments made by the State Council. The Hong Kong SAR Government, the National Security Advisor to the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong SAR and the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the Hong Kong SAR will work closely, perform their respective functions and do their utmost in implementing the national security law, fulfilling the duty of the Hong Kong SAR in safeguarding national security.” In accordance with the national security law, the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong SAR is chaired by the Chief Executive. The committee shall be responsible for affairs relating to and assume primary responsibility for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong. The committee shall be under the supervision of and accountable to the CPG. It shall have a National Security Adviser, who shall be designated by the CPG and advise on matters relating to the duties and functions of the committee. The National Security Adviser shall sit in on the committee's meetings. The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the Hong Kong SAR shall analyse and assess developments in relation to safeguarding national security in Hong Kong, and provide opinions and make proposals on major strategies and important policies for safeguarding national security. It will also oversee, guide and co-ordinate with, and provide support to Hong Kong in the performance of its duties for safeguarding national security, as well as collect and analyse intelligence and information concerning national security. The office will also handle cases concerning offences endangering national security in specified circumstances in accordance with the national security law.