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To tie in with National Security Education Day on April 15 and celebrate the 180th anniversary of the Police Force’s establishment, the National Security Education Day & Hong Kong Police Force 180th Anniversary Police College Open Day was held at the Hong Kong Police College today. The event aimed to promote public awareness of national security, enhance the cultivation of national identity and foster communication between Police and citizens while sharing joy and fun. Addressing the event, Chief Executive John Lee noted that this year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s proposal of the holistic view of national security, and is also the first National Security Education Day after enacting legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law. Lauding the Police Force as an important strength in safeguarding Hong Kong and national security as well as maintaining law and order and protecting citizens since its establishment in 1844, Mr Lee thanked the force on behalf of the Government and citizens for its contribution to Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee supplemented that he believed the force would continue to safeguard national security and unite to fulfil its mission and strive for excellence. Also speaking at the ceremony, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Director Zheng Yanxiong highlighted that enacting Article 23 legislation is a significant achievement of the Hong Kong SAR in fulfilling its constitutional responsibility. The enactment signifies that Hong Kong now possesses an impenetrable barrier to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and consolidates as a united front to promote the city’s advancement from stability to prosperity, he stressed. Mr Zheng also expressed hope that Police would keep in mind their mission to resolutely safeguard national security, and the steadfast and successful implementation of “one country, two systems”, and uphold the rule of law. The open day kicked off with a grand show featuring music performances, driving demonstrations, a police dog show, and counter-terrorism drill. To signify the inheritance of the force's professionalism, officers sealed memorable items in a time capsule which will be reopened after 20 years. In addition, the open day featured four zones - Upholding National Security & Safeguarding Our City, Beyond 180 Years, Police Fun Zone, and Modern Police Professional. Highlights included an upgraded “NS Express National Security Exhibition”, a virtual reality film showcasing the history of the force, a display of advanced equipment of elite units and police vehicles as well as the 17 police mascots gathering for the first time to meet and greet the public. The Correctional Services Department, the Government Flying Service and the Immigration Department also held open days in support of National Security Education Day.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today strongly condemned the US and Canada for smearing the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance under the pretext of foreign travel advice updates. The so-called travel advice claimed that the risks of travelling to Hong Kong would increase after the ordinance comes into effect. Pointing out that it is a political manoeuvre with fact-twisting and scaremongering remarks to spread panic, the Hong Kong SAR Government urged the US and Canada to stop their attempts to interfere in Hong Kong safeguarding national security in accordance with the law. The Hong Kong SAR Government said that the offences endangering national security stipulated in the ordinance precisely target acts endangering national security, and define the elements and penalties of the offences with clarity. Moreover, the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had the actus reus and mens rea of an offence before the defendant may be convicted by the court. Separately, the Hong Kong SAR Government made it clear that extraterritorial effect for the offences under the Hong Kong National Security Law and the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance is both necessary and legitimate, and is also in line with those of other countries and regions around the world. “It can be seen that the national security laws of various countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and the member states of the European Union, also have extraterritorial effect under the personality principle and the protective principle. “In formulating the extraterritorial effect under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, we have already taken into account the principles of international law and international practice of state jurisdiction as well as the nature of the offences.” The Hong Kong SAR Government further emphasised that its law enforcement agencies have been taking enforcement actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the people concerned. It stressed that the claims of arbitrary enforcement and wrongful detention completely disregard the facts. It also strongly opposed the countries concerned for attempting to achieve political goals by means of intimidation and interference with the legitimate exchanges of the public and the business sector. The Hong Kong SAR Government stated that it has always welcomed ordinary travellers and businessmen, and if they do not conduct acts and activities endangering national security and not unwittingly violate the law, they have no reason to be worried. 
The Action Plan on the Construction of Rule of Law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has been released, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced today. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam explained that the action plan has two intentions, namely to underpin the guiding principle of “Three Interfaces, Two Connects & One Greater Bay Area”, and strengthen collaboration with the legal and dispute resolution sectors and other stakeholders to effectively implement policy measures set out in the plan. Through mechanisms, regulatory frameworks and talent – the “three interfaces” – the DoJ said it will promote hardware and software connectivity in constructing rule of law in the bay area, co-operation between the various cities according to their respective strengths, and collaboration between different legal systems, thereby eventually achieving the goal of “one Greater Bay Area”. Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan, who is also the leading Hong Kong-side official in the working group on Guangdong-Hong Kong co-operation on legal and dispute resolution services, and in the working group on Hong Kong-Shenzhen legal co-operation, elaborated on specific measures under the “three interfaces”. In relation to the interface of mechanisms, the DoJ will make good use of the mechanisms already established with other bay area ministries and stakeholders, and promote the setting up of a high-level bay area platform with the Supreme People’s Court to take forward practical and research work on judicial and legal matters relating to the bay area. The DoJ will also promote the establishment of a bay area legal and dispute resolution services information platform to enable people and enterprises to obtain comprehensive and accurate information. With regard to the regulatory frameworks interface, the DoJ has been taking steps to expand the scope of application of “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to adopt Hong Kong law” and “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to choose for arbitration to be seated in Hong Kong”. Moreover, it will promote the formulation of best practices in bay area non-litigation dispute resolution rules to facilitate the interface and co-ordination of different dispute resolution services in the bay area, and prepare to organise bay area mediator training programmes in Hong Kong. It will also set up a bay area online dispute resolution platform to facilitate the development of a multifaceted dispute resolution mechanism, and support Hong Kong mediation organisations in handling commercial mediation cases in the bay area in the form of “specially invited mediation organisations”. In terms of talent, the DoJ will put forward new measures, including the establishment of the Hong Kong International Legal Talents Training Academy, to gather and nurture foreign-related legal talent in the bay area, and advocate for the establishment of a platform for bay area lawyers to drive their professional development. It will also enable the Hong Kong legal sector to integrate into the bay area’s development in order to build a competitive brand of legal services, and organise visits and exchanges to encourage the development of bay area legal talent. Mr Lam said the action plan, released on the fifth anniversary of the promulgation of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, demonstrates the importance the DoJ attaches to its work relating to the bay area. He said: “The DoJ will take action as a means and adopt a result-oriented approach to pursue in a pragmatic spirit the implementation of the action plan during the tenure of the current-term Government, with a view to contributing to the construction of rule of law in the (bay area) with concrete results.” He emphasised that the DoJ will deepen co-operation among stakeholders, including establishing standing and effective interface mechanisms with Mainland authorities, and listen to people’s views. The department will also encourage various sectors to open up opportunities, while assisting them in forming a platform for exchange and collaboration, so as to achieve integrated growth and contribute to the country’s strategic development, he added.
Chief Executive John Lee said that he attaches great importance to the fire that broke out this morning at the New Lucky House building in Jordan and has instructed relevant departments to follow up on the incident. He made the statement after visiting some of the people who were injured in the blaze at Queen Elizabeth Hospital this afternoon, adding that he has called on the Hospital Authority to make every effort to treat all of the injured. He has also instructed the relevant departments, including Police and the Fire Services Department, to investigate the cause of the fire. In terms of assisting people affected by the fire, Mr Lee said Henry G. Leong Yaumatei Community Centre has been opened as a temporary shelter and District Services & Community Care Teams have been sent to render support for people in need. Meanwhile, the Housing Bureau and the Housing Department are closely liaising with the Home Affairs Department and Social Welfare Department to make every effort to offer assistance to the affected residents, including helping them with arrangements to stay in transitional housing or temporary shelters. Additionally, the Chief Executive stressed that emergency services departments in Hong Kong are committed to responding promptly, effectively and with utmost professionalism. “First of all, in respect of our response to fire incidents, I believe the departments, including the Fire Services Department and the supporting departments, are all very professional. They are very good at providing an immediate response and taking rescue actions.  “In respect of general fire safety, we have a system ensuring aged buildings when their safety standard needs to be upgraded, there is a system for the Fire Services Department to demand extra installations for fire safety, and that is done through directions, and of course, there will be penalties for those who do not comply with the directions. “In regard to ensuring fire safety, there are regular inspection visits by the Fire Services Department and by the Buildings Department as well.”
The Government gazetted two notices today to facilitate the choice of dying in place for terminally ill patients in residential care homes (RCHs). Pursuant to the notices which will come into effect on June 3, if a resident who passed away in an RCH was diagnosed as having a terminal illness while alive and was attended to by a registered medical practitioner within 14 days before passing away, and the resident’s cause of death certificate states that he or she died of a natural cause, the case will no longer be considered as a reportable death to the Coroners Court. To tie in with the amended legislation, the Social Welfare Department will promulgate guidelines for residential care homes for people with disabilities and residential care homes for the elderly that are not nursing homes. The department will also provide training such as end-of-life care for RCH staff to help them implement the dying-in-place arrangements. The two notices will be laid before the Legislative Council for negative vetting next Wednesday.
A National Security Education Study Tour, organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, concluded today, with its 75 participants returning to Hong Kong from the Mainland this afternoon. Principals, teachers and outstanding students from 17 secondary schools participated in the tour, which started on March 29 and encompassed Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. The participants were mainly selected via the Territory-wide Inter-school National Security Knowledge Challenge, which was jointly organised by the Department of Justice, the Security Bureau, the Education Bureau, and the Shine Tak Foundation. In Beijing, the group visited Tiananmen Square to observe a flag-raising ceremony, climbed the Tiananmen Tower, and toured the Palace Museum and the Museum of the Communist Party of China. In Shanghai, they visited a Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China exhibitiion hall and the National Security Education Exhibition Hall. In Hangzhou, they visited the Hangzhou National Archives of Publications & Culture, the Liangzhu Museum, and the Alibaba Xixi Park, among other attractions. They also interacted and exchanged ideas with teachers and students from the Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University at the China Science & Technology Museum. At the tour’s opening ceremony in Beijing, Secretary for Education Choi Yuk-lin, Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong SAR Secretary General Au Chi-kwong and members of the study tour were received by Central People’s Government Hong Kong & Macao Work Office Deputy Director Nong Rong. Under Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk participated in the visit to Hangzhou and the closing ceremony. To inspire the participants, Mr Cheuk quoted the Four Sentences of Hengqu: “To ordain conscience for Heaven and Earth. To secure life and fortune for the people. To continue lost teachings for past sages. To establish peace for all future generations.” He said he hoped the participants would continue to take responsibility for safeguarding national security and strive for the betterment of Hong Kong and the country.
The Government announced today a revision to the policy on applications to change the sex entry on people’s Hong Kong identity cards. From now on, individuals who have not completed full sex reassignment surgery (SRS) may still apply to change the sex entry on their identity cards provided they satisfy certain revised criteria.  The change to the policy comes in view of the judgment handed down by the Court of Final Appeal in Q & Tse Henry Edward v Commissioner of Registration on February 6, 2023. The Government said it had completed a review of the policy following that ruling. It said it had prudently considered the policy’s objective, as well as relevant legal and medical advice, and drawn reference from relevant practices overseas. Under the revised policy, if a person who has not completed full SRS is able to show evidence, by way of relevant medical proof and supporting documents, of having completed surgical treatment such as the removal of breasts or removal of the penis and testes, may make an application. An applicant must make a statutory declaration to confirm he or she has, or had, gender dysphoria, has lived in the opposite sex throughout the period of at least two years ending on the date on which the application is made, and will continue to live in the opposite sex for the rest of his or her life. Another condition is that an applicant must have been undergoing relevant hormonal treatment throughout the period of at least two years continuously before the date on which the application is made. An applicant also must confirm that he or she will continue to undergo relevant hormonal treatment and submit blood test reports as requested by the Director of Immigration for random checking of his or her hormonal profile. The Immigration Department will process applications that have been received but have yet to be processed in accordance with the revised policy, and will take the initiative to contact individual applicants for follow-up action. The Government emphasised that the revision concerns the policy on changes to the sex entry on Hong Kong identity cards only, and that the sex entry on a Hong Kong identity card does not represent the holder’s sex as a matter of law. It added that the change does not affect any other government policies, or the handling of any other gender-related matters under the law, or relevant legal procedures.
Three pieces of subsidiary legislation related to places of detention for immigration detainees will be gazetted on April 5. They are the Immigration (Places of Detention) (Amendment) Order 2024, the Immigration Service (Designated Places) (Amendment) Order 2024 and the Immigration Service (Treatment of Detained Persons) (Amendment) Order 2024. Following the completion of construction of the new Immigration Headquarters in Tseung Kwan O in the third quarter of 2023, relevant offices and facilities are being relocated in phases to the new headquarters in 2024. The new headquarters will provide a detention centre, which will replace the existing Ma Tau Kok Detention Centre located at the Ma Tau Kok Road Government Offices. As with the current Ma Tau Kok centre, the new detention centre will be used for short-term detention of immigration offenders pending inquiry, prosecution, court hearing or transfer to other detention facilities. Moreover, following the completion of ongoing development at Hong Kong International Airport, additional detention quarters will be set up by the Immigration Department at the airport for short-term detention of people pending examination, inquiry, a decision to give or refuse permission to land, or removal from Hong Kong after permission to land is refused. In order to include the above new detention centre/quarters as places of detention, the Government needs to amend the relevant Schedule to the Immigration (Places of Detention) Order and the Immigration Service (Designated Places) Order. The Schedule to the Immigration Service (Treatment of Detained Persons) Order will also be amended to include the detention centre at the new headquarters. As the Ma Tau Kok centre will cease operations when the detention centre at the new headquarters begins operations, the Government will also take the opportunity to repeal the references to the Ma Tau Kok centre in the three pieces of subsidiary legislation at the end of this year. The three pieces of subsidiary legislation will be tabled at the Legislative Council for negative vetting on April 10 and are expected to take effect on May 31. Repeal of references to the Ma Tau Kok centre is expected to start on December 2.
The Working Group on the Greater Bay Area (GBA) Mediation Platform published the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Rules (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) today. Under the rules, an applicant who wishes to apply for accreditation as a GBA Mediator through Hong Kong must fulfil specific requirements, including upholding the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR of the PRC, the Basic Law of the Macao SAR of the PRC, and “one country, two systems”. The applicant should also complete the designated GBA Mediator Training Course successfully; complete mediation in at least five cases; possess at least five years' work experience, with at least three years as a mediator as well as have good professional ethics with no record of being reprimanded or disciplined for disrepute or professional misconduct. Comprising representatives from the legal departments of Guangdong Province, the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR, the working group earlier discussed the respective local accreditation rules in each of the three places and decided to publish the rules today. The Department of Justice of Hong Kong formulated the rules applicable to the accreditation through Hong Kong, based on the requirements of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mediator Accreditation Standards.
The Government has provided Christian Zheng Sheng College with over $1 million in emergency relief from the Beat Drugs Fund to meet the school’s imminent needs and tide it over difficult times. The Security Bureau’s Narcotics Division made the statement today in response to media enquiries about Zheng Sheng College calling for help from the Government as it is running out of financial resources essential to its teachers and students. It said the emergency funding aims to prevent the school’s operation from being affected by the behaviours of certain wanted individuals. It pointed out that the board members of Christian Zheng Sheng Association have been under police investigation for a while. A number of wanted board members, including founder Lam Hay-sing and Zheng Sheng College principal Alman Chan, are still at large. The operation of the school has all along relied on funding from Zheng Sheng Association. Despite multiple requests from the Government and Zheng Sheng College, Lam Hay-sing did not transfer funds to the college from the bank account of Zheng Sheng Association. As a result, the school does not have enough money to take care of its teachers and students. The Government has all along placed the welfare of the college's teachers and students as a top priority. To prevent them from being affected, including the seven students who will sit for public examinations, the Government has taken the initiative to swiftly allocate relief funds to tide the school over these difficult times. The Narcotics Division said Lam Hay-sing has been using different excuses to prevent the funds in the association's bank account from being transferred to the college for maintaining its daily operation, let alone for restructuring the board to completely resolve the fund transfer issue. It strongly condemns the disreputable and selfish acts of these wanted people. “We appeal to them not to put their selfishness and personal benefits above the welfare of the teachers and students of Zheng Sheng College, and not to squander the goodwill of the people who donated to Zheng Sheng Association. “We urge them to abide by law, return to Hong Kong soon and make amends.”