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Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng today signed a framework arrangement for collaboration with Chinese Institute of Hong Kong Executive Vice-President Prof Huang Ping who is authorised by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Such an arrangement will enable exchanges and co-operation concerning rule of law research in an effort to continue fostering the building of Hong Kong's Rule of Law Database, which was officially launched in November last year. Under the arrangement, both sides will strive to strengthen, encourage and promote exchanges and co-operation in the area of rule of law research. The Chinese Institute of Hong Kong will also conduct dedicated studies on issues related to the rule of law and the building of a rule of law database with objective data. Under the co-ordination of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Chinese Institute of Hong Kong, the CASS may collaborate with experts in areas such as academic research. Ms Cheng said the CASS is a prestigious Mainland academic institution that focuses on the study of social sciences. As a branch of the CASS, the Chinese Institute of Hong Kong pools together academic and social resources in the city and the Mainland to initiate various types of research in social sciences. The signing of the framework arrangement for collaboration will be conducive to understanding the practice of rule of law based on analysis of objective data, she added. Hong Kong's Rule of Law Database is one of the important projects under the DoJ's Vision 2030 for Rule of Law initiative, collecting and collating objective data and research relating to the practice of rule of law.
The Fire Services Department (FSD) will thoroughly study the recommendations in the verdict of Coroner's Court concerning the fire-fighting operation of a No. 4 fire at Amoycan Industrial Centre in June 2016. It also conveyed its deepest condolences to the families of the two personnel who died during the operation. The department has implemented a series of improvement measures to enhance the safety and operational efficiency of frontline personnel after an interdepartmental task force formed after the No.4 fire made a number of recommendations. It has enhanced the operational procedures of breathing apparatus and established a team to provide logistical support in relation to the operation of such apparatus at incidents. Additionally, new ancillary equipment on breathing apparatus has been introduced such as the firefighter locator system and retractable personal lines to facilitate rescue operations. The department has improved the arrangement for rest areas at incidents, devised guidelines on frontline work and rest schedules under hot or inclement weather, stepped up training on staff awareness of heat-related illnesses and relevant preventive measures. It has also issued a safety alert on prevention of heat stroke and reminders upon the issuance of the “Very Hot Weather Warning” signal. The FSD has been working closely with other departments to conduct inspections and take enforcement action in mini-storage premises since June 2016. As at April 30 this year, the department had inspected 1,222 mini-storage premises and found 3,222 common fire hazards in 959 mini-storage premises. Notices were issued to the operators concerned requiring them to abate the fire hazards within specified periods, with prosecutions having been instituted against 221 operators for failing to comply. The Fire Safety (Industrial Buildings) Ordinance, implemented in 2020, mandates that owners and occupiers of pre-1987 industrial buildings upgrade the provision of fire service installations and equipment and fire safety construction, as per the instructions of the directors of the FSD and the Buildings Department. The fire safety standards of all premises inside the old industrial buildings, including mini-storage premises, are subject to the ordinance and have to comply with the direction to carry out fire safety improvement works.
Chief Executive-elect John Lee today said the 2022 Chief Executive Election was held according to the law under the improved electoral system. Mr Lee was responding to a statement issued by the European Union concerning the election that was held yesterday. “I disagree (with them) and I think they were wrong because the election was conducted according to the (Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Ordinance 2021) in Hong Kong. “The (Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Ordinance 2021) was enacted because of what happened in the years of chaos and also attempts to sabotage Hong Kong’s governance with a high degree of foreign intervention.” Mr Lee emphasised that the improved electoral system serves the overall interests of Hong Kong. “It has already created positive results, as you can see, in the Legislative Council (where) a lot of debates are very practical and a lot of the discussions are very rational and of high quality.”
Customs today announced that it detected a suspected money laundering case and arrested four people who were suspected of using personal bank accounts at various banks in Hong Kong, including virtual banks, to launder about $600 million from unknown sources since 2020. The department has arranged to freeze a total bank balance of $1.7 million held by the arrestees. Acting on intelligence, Customs officers targeted four local people whose background and financial status were highly incommensurate with the large amount of suspicious transactions recorded in their personal bank accounts. Apart from processing a large amount of money from unknown sources through local bank accounts, they also opened accounts at an overseas cryptocurrency exchange trading platform to deal with cryptocurrencies from unknown sources. Then they converted the cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies and remitted the suspicious funds out via local banks. They were suspected of engaging in money laundering activities. After in-depth investigations, the department mounted an operation on April 28, during which it raided four residential premises, five offices and two licensed money changers. Two men and two women, aged between 32 and 54, were arrested for money laundering. They have been released on bail and an investigation is ongoing. Customs has not ruled out the likelihood of more arrests. Call 2545 6182 or send an email to the department to report suspected money laundering activities.
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng today attended the award presentation ceremony of the "Key to the Future" Short Video Competition organised by the Department of Justice, which aims to enhance rule of law awareness among youths. The competition is the first of its kind designated for secondary students in the Rule of Law Enlightenment programme under the department's Vision 2030 for Rule of Law initiative. It received an encouraging response of 70 video entries. Most of them focused on the law-abiding spirit, showing that the students are aware of the utmost importance of abiding by the law in a society's rule of law. By making a three-minute short video, participants demonstrated their creativity to promote the rule of law and shared their thoughts on its future development, the department noted. Addressing the event, Ms Cheng said she hopes that students would be enlightened to share their thoughts on the meaning of the rule of law from different perspectives through the competition, with a view to strengthening the proper understanding and practice of the rule of law. Click here for the list of competition winners.
The Mediation Conference 2022 was successfully held today as it attracted more than 1,200 online participants from 19 jurisdictions around the globe. The conference is the highlight of Mediation Week 2022 and a celebration event of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, while delivering the welcoming remarks, noted the importance of cultivating roots for Chinese culture showcased by mediation for young people. She said the accomplishments in Hong Kong's legal and dispute resolution sector played a crucial role in the way forward with the development of mediation in the city and the Greater Bay Area.      Prof Liu Jingdong of the Chinese Academy of Social Science shared his insights on the signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation by the Mainland and his anticipation for the implementation of reciprocal recognition and enforcement of mediated settlement agreements in the bay area.      Panel discussions covered the impact of the new Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial & Family Cases (Reciprocal Recognition & Enforcement) Ordinance and how mediation is well suited for tackling disputes during the Covid-19 epidemic.      Also duing the forum, Law Officer (Civil Law) of the Department of Justice Christina Cheung announced the launch of the fourth edition of "The Judge Over Your Shoulder - A Guide to Judicial Review for Administrators". She described the support received throughout Mediation Week and the conference as being a vote of confidence to further promote mediation.
Customs said that all service members must adopt the protocols of the Chinese-style foot drill for ceremonial events, passing-out parades and other occasions while in uniform as it fully implemented this style of foot drill from today. It noted that today is May Fourth Youth Day, an important day for the country to commemorate the May Fourth Movement which gave rise to the emergence of the spirit focusing on patriotism, progress, democracy and science, with patriotism at the core. Customs explained that it chose to fully adopt the Chinese-style foot drill on this meaningful day to show its strong commitment to continuous improvement and express the sense of belonging to and patriotic feelings for the country. The implementation of the Chinese-style foot drill also demonstrates the department's national sentiment and patriotic feelings for the country while showcasing the demeanour of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's disciplined services, it added. Customs has progressively adopted the Chinese-style foot drill in training, ceremonial events and passing-out parades in recent years. This style of foot drill not only enhances the attractiveness of the entire performance, but also helps in better integrating the department into the governance system of the country and enriching the practice of "one country, two systems", it pointed out. The department also expressed sincere gratitude to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison for providing Chinese-style foot drill training to its officers and valuable advice on adopting the foot drill in various ceremonial events.
Mediation Week 2022 was launched today to promote the use of mediation via a series of thematic events and the Mediation Conference 2022. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng remarked that it is ideally to nurture the culture of mediation amongst students who will appreciate the importance and the usefulness of mediation skills in resolving conflicts amicably. She noted that this is vital to maintain their personal relationships and ultimately contribute to the building of a harmonious community. Organised by the Department of Justice, the five-day programme was kicked off by the School Mediation Seminar & 5th Hong Kong Secondary School Peer Mediation Competition Final this morning. During the armchair discussion part of the seminar, speakers with extensive experience in peer mediation explored the common disputes among students that were suitable for mediation and how peer mediation could be used to prevent escalation of school disputes from the perspectives of mediator, lawyer, teacher and social worker. As regards the competition final, students became young aspiring mediators and displayed their peer mediation skills under the spotlight. True Light Girls’ College were crowned the competition champions.
The Mediation Week 2022 organised by the Department of Justice will be held in the first week of May (from May 2 to 6). It features the Mediation Conference 2022 and a series of thematic events to promote the use of mediation in resolving a multitude of disputes in an effective and amicable manner. The theme of this year’s Mediation Week is “Mediate First – Harmony from Now to Beyond”. The events will showcase how mediation can preserve harmony in dispute resolution in different sectors both locally and internationally, and its potentials in resolving disputes in novel developments such as virtual reality. To kick off the Mediation Week, we have a group of young aspiring mediators who will display their mediation skills under the Secondary School Peer Mediation Competition. I believe that the culture of mediation should be nurtured amongst students in order to let them appreciate the importance and the usefulness of mediation skills as life skills. Mastering the skills of resolving conflicts cordially is also vital to maintain their personal relationships and ultimately contribute to the building of a harmonious community. On a more local level, there are thematic events exploring how mediation can be applicable in family disputes, as well as in the school and medical setting. There will also be a seminar on the new Integrated Mediation Office (West Kowloon) of the Judiciary with a sharing session on mediation in Small Claims Tribunal cases. On an international level, the UNCITRAL Working Group III on ISDS Reform - Forum for Further Preparatory Work on Investment Mediation will explore specific key issues relating to the proposed model clauses and guidelines on investment mediation. The Mediation Conference 2022, being the highlight of the Mediation Week and a celebration event of the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, will be held on May 6. We are honoured to have invited prominent international and local experts and practitioners to share their insights on the recent developments of mediation. The conference will cover topics including exploring the possibility of a reciprocal recognition and enforcement mechanism for family mediated settlement agreements in the Greater Bay Area in light of the mechanism under the new Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial & Family Cases (Reciprocal Recognition & Enforcement) Ordinance. Panelists will explore how and why mediation may be the better way to resolve COVID-19 related disputes. Last but not least, we will also take a glance at the “metaverse”, which has been the talk of the town these few years, by illustrating the possible legal issues behind, what may cause disputes to arise and how mediation may be the most suited means for resolving such disputes. As an amicable and cost-effective means to effectively resolve conflicts, mediation is one of the common modes of alternative dispute resolution. It is conducive to the promotion of the rule of law through the provision of efficient and effective dispute resolution mechanisms. We will continue to roll out other programmes to promote the rule of law, including the Rule of Law Enlightenment programme under the Vision 2030 for Rule of Law initiative. I am pleased to announce that a very special guest will join us at the award presentation ceremony of the “Key to the Future” Short Video Competition for secondary school students on May 7. Please follow our dedicated webpage and stay tuned! Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng wrote this article and posted it on her blog on April 30.
Customs today signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) in Japan and the Copyright Overseas promotion Association (COA) in Korea to pledge further collaboration in combating intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement. As today is World Intellectual Property Day, Assistant Commissioner of Customs & Excise (Intelligence & Investigation) Mark Woo signed MoUs by videoconferencing with CODA Representative Director Takero Goto and COA Executive Director Itae Choi. The pacts signify the mutual commitment and determination of Hong Kong and these two countries on IPR protection through strengthening various areas of co-operation, such as joint promotional activities, training and information exchange. Mr Woo said at the signing ceremony that in addition to law enforcement, Customs has attached great importance to maintaining close co-operation with copyright and trademark owners in promoting IPR education, especially among the younger generation. The MoUs signed today also mark a significant milestone along the course of ongoing collaboration between Customs and the IPR sector, he added.