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Secretary for the Civil Service (SCS) Ingrid Yeung today presented the SCS’s Commendation Award to civil servants with outstanding performances, with Chief Executive John Lee also attending the ceremony to extend his congratulations. Addressing the ceremony, Mrs Yeung said the awardees had demonstrated dedication in their posts and areas of service, and that their perseverance in providing quality public services and pursuit of excellence were highly commendable. Mrs Yeung also pointed out that the 2023 Policy Address had set out a number of initiatives to strengthen the civil service management system, including advancing the performance-based management system and giving due recognition to civil servants with outstanding performances and dedication to serving the community. She added that the Government will enhance the training for all civil servants to boost their patriotism and sense of national security as well as introduce the Civil Service Staff Exchange Programme with the Greater Bay Area, such that Hong Kong civil servants will have opportunities to station temporarily on the Mainland to have a deeper understanding of bay area development. The 100 award recipients of the SCS’s Commendation Award Scheme 2023 comprise civil servants from 38 bureaus and departments, involving 50 grades. Among them, Senior Airworthiness Officer Henry Leung, Chief Customs Officer Tjong Yu-pau and Land Surveyor Ho Chi-ho were commended at today’s ceremony. To enhance public understanding of the work of the award-winning civil servants and their dedication to serving the community, the Civil Service Bureau and Radio Television Hong Kong have jointly produced a 10-episode television series of five minutes titled United to serve the community - Good stories of civil servants, for broadcast on RTHK TV31 from mid-December. In each episode, an outstanding civil servant who received the commendation award will be featured to showcase their good stories and attract outstanding talent to join the Government. Separately, with 12 days to go before the District Council Election, Mrs Yeung took the opportunity to appeal to civil servants to cast their votes with their friends and families on polling day to discharge their civic responsibility, with a view to building a better community. 
Police today announced the launch of a one-stop online platform for members of the public to conveniently submit permit applications and make payments online. The Hong Kong Police Force Online Applications Platform provides application services for Closed Area Permits, Road Event Permits and Location Filming in its first phase. Applications for Electronic Tourism Closed Area Permit will be open starting December 1 to tie in with the second phase of the Sha Tau Kok opening-up plan that will be implemented in January 2024. Police explained that through the new platform, people can apply for online services by logging in with just one account, saving time spent on queuing and filling out handwritten forms. They also pointed out that the platform supports multiple registration and login methods, including email, local mobile phone numbers, iAM Smart and iAM Smart+. Based on the applicants' registration particulars, the platform automatically fills out most parts of the form, sparing them from repeated data entry. What’s more, users can check the progress of their application anytime via the platform and upload supplementary documents if necessary. Those who encounter problems when registering, logging in or filling out forms can call the 24-hour hotline 8226 1886 for assistance. In the future, the platform will roll out other electronic services of the Police Force in phases, such as applications for Sexual Conviction Record Check, Certificate of No Criminal Conviction, checking Criminal Conviction Record Data and applying for assistance in conducting academic researches.
The Correctional Services Department today announced that it will introduce the Assistant Officer II Language Test (Chinese / English) from December 1 to provide another way for applicants to meet the language proficiency requirements. The test, which comprises a Chinese Language written test and an English Language written test, is benchmarked against Level 2 in Chinese Language and English Language in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination. Each written test includes two parts, namely practical writing and multiple choice questions. The former tests the applicants’ writing and logical thinking abilities, while the latter tests abilities of error identification, sentence completion and paragraph improvement, the department explained. An applicant passing the language test will be deemed to have met the Assistant Officer II language proficiency requirements and the result is permanently valid. The department said it has been adopting proactive recruitment strategies to attract talent, such as introducing new entry physical fitness test standards for its Officer and Assistant Officer II posts since mid-September. For the convenience of applicants and to expedite its recruitment selection process, the department has also streamlined its recruitment procedures so that the physical fitness test, the Basic Law & National Security Law Test, the group interview and the selection interview for Assistant Officer II, which were conducted over two separate days previously, is now completed within one day. It added that it will continue to enhance publicity and organise various recruitment activities to attract more people to join the department.
The first part of the “Rule of Law Education Train-the-Leaders Programme”, themed “Rule of Law Education Stars”, was held by the Department of Justice (DoJ) today. The two-day programme seeks to reinforce understanding of the rule of law in the community, a key policy goal in this year’s Policy Address. Today’s event was attended by more than 200 people. The DoJ in February established the Steering Committee on Rule of Law Education to assist in formulating a strategy and programme for promoting such education in Hong Kong.  Secretary for Justice Paul Lam leads the steering committee and two working groups focused on detailed implementation of the programme. The programme involves teaching a first batch of young trainees from 20 organisations and groups undertaking youth-related and community work about the rule of law in a varied, interactive, interesting, down to earth and easy-to-understand manner. The aim is to enhance their understanding of and respect for the rule of law, as well as their ability to communicate consistent and correct message about it to different sectors in the community. At a launch ceremony, Mr Lam said that the content of rule of law education must be correct, just and fair, and must be taught in an effective manner, as it involves a major issue of right and wrong. He added that the DoJ will take the lead to explore the way forward and share relevant information, performing the role of a “guide boat” for rule of law education. With a number of star tutors in attendance, the launch-day event addressed the topic of “rule of law and our legal system”. Mr Lam spoke about the essence of the rule of law as a concept, and its relationship to the Constitution, the Basic Law, the Hong Kong National Security Law and the “one country, two systems” principle. He also gave an overview of Hong Kong’s legal and judicial systems. The second event in the programme will be held on December 2. A graduation ceremony will also be held on the same day to present certificates to trainees who have completed the programme’s first phase over the two days. The DoJ will launch a second phase of the programme within the next year to continue its work in promoting rule of law education on all fronts.
The amendments to the Regional Flag & Regional Emblem Ordinance on the design of the emblem on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the Legislative Council and the Judiciary’s websites came into effect today.      In accordance with sections 3(1), 3(2A) and 3(2B) of the Regional Flag & Regional Emblem (Amendment) Ordinance, the Chief Executive has revised and published in the Gazette today the stipulations for the display and use of the national flag and national emblem and the regional flag and regional emblem. The revisions also specify the recovery and disposal of the regional flag and regional emblem. The amendments stipulate that any damaged, defiled, faded or substandard regional flags and regional emblems must be returned to designated collection points, similar to the arrangement for the recovery and disposal of the national flag and national emblem. After an event in which regional flags or regional emblems are used, the organiser has the responsibility to keep the regional flags and regional emblems used on the site of the event for safekeeping or reuse, and return any damaged, defiled, faded or substandard regional flags and regional emblems to the collection points. The Hong Kong SAR Government said the fundamental principle and spirit of the amendment ordinance is “respect” - respect the regional flag and regional emblem which are the symbols and signs of the Hong Kong SAR. With an emphasis on both “education” and “punishment”, the amendment ordinance provides for the proper use, etiquette, education and promotion in relation to the regional flag and regional emblem, while punishing and deterring desecration of them by clarifying the relevant offences provisions. The Hong Kong SAR Government added that it will step up publicity and education in relation to the regional flag and regional emblem, and enhance the public's understanding on the amendment ordinance.    The Regional Flag & Regional Emblem Ordinance (RFREO) came into effect in the Hong Kong SAR on July 1, 1997. In view of the amendments to the National Flag & National Emblem Ordinance that were passed in 2021, the Hong Kong SAR Government decided to amend the RFREO to suitably align the two ordinances. 
Chief Executive John Lee today inspected 128 Assistant Officers II on parade at the Hong Kong Correctional Services Academy. Speaking at the parade, Mr Lee pointed out that the Correctional Services Department (CSD), as one of the six disciplined services departments guarding Hong Kong, shares the important mission of safeguarding national security. He stressed that following the central government’s decisive promulgation on the implementation of the National Security Law in 2020, Hong Kong has transitioned from chaos to order and resumed social stability, with the offenders concerned having been arrested, remanded and sentenced. Correctional officers have fearlessly prevented and combatted illicit activities in correctional institutions, preventing prisons from being turned into bases for subversion against China and Hong Kong, he added. On top of that, Mr Lee commended the CSD for its efforts in rehabilitation work, anti-crime promotion and community education. Additionally, he highlighted its launch of innovative activities, such as Project PATH, to assist persons in custody (PICs) who were involved in serious offences and those with radical thoughts in an effort to rebuild positive values. The CSD also arranged for a promotion vehicle to visit primary schools to spread messages about national security, national education, crime prevention and support for rehabilitation. There is also an exchange programme for the Rehabilitation Pioneer Leaders to visit Greater Bay Area cities. The Chief Executive highlighted the fact that there are several policy initiatives, announced in his Policy Address last month, that will be implemented by the CSD. Such initiatives include the establishment of the Ethics College to provide full-time education programmes for voluntary enrolment by adult PICs and a plan to set up parent-child centres in three correctional institutions for male offenders to strengthen their relationships with their families. Apart from encouraging the graduating officers to guide those who have gone astray back to the right path, Mr Lee urged them to set clear goals and rise up to challenges with courage, so that they will become a new generation of correctional officers who are strongly committed, highly disciplined and staunchly devoted to their duties.
The Transport Department today alerted the public to fraudulent websites purporting to offer HKeToll services and deceive users into submitting their credit card information to make payments. Minus the spaces added here, the addresses of the websites are “gov . hktc . etollu . xyz” and “etollu . xyz”. The department clarified that these websites have no connection with HKeToll and have been reported to Police for follow-up. If vehicle owners wish to pay an outstanding toll online, they must log in to the HKeToll website or mobile app. The department urged citizens to stay alert when receiving unidentified messages and refrain from visiting suspicious websites or disclosing personal data. Anyone who has provided personal information to such websites should contact Police. Call 3853 7333 for enquiries about HKeToll.
The Social Welfare Department (SWD) today said it will continue to co-operate with the Independent Commission Against Corruption on its follow-up work on a fraud case concerning Traffic Accident Victims Assistance (TAVA). The department noted that the ICAC has announced the completion of its investigation on the TAVA fraud case and the laying of charges against the concerned individuals. Administered by the SWD, the TAVA Scheme provides speedy financial assistance to road traffic accident victims or the surviving dependents of deceased victims. To guard against abuse and fraud, the department strictly verifies every application by seeking written confirmation from Police on whether a traffic accident is involved. It liaises closely with the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health to ensure that the injuries sustained by the applicants are related to the traffic accidents concerned. Furthermore, suspected cases are referred to enforcement agencies for investigations. In addition, the SWD also verifies whether the applicants have made any claim for damages or compensation through other means for the same traffic accident. It will also write to insurance companies timely to inform them of the disbursement of a payment, to avoid double compensation. The SWD stressed that obtaining TAVA by deception is a criminal offence and offenders are liable upon conviction to imprisonment of up to 14 years. The department will continue to monitor the scheme's implementation and urges anyone who has information about improper or illegal activities by TAVA applicants to report to the department or Police.
Chief Executive John Lee today expressed sorrow over the passing of the Right Honourable the Lord Robert Walker, a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, and extended condolences to his family. Mr Lee said Lord Walker was held in high regard in the legal sector. “Having been a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal since 2009, Lord Walker has written landmark judgments covering various legal aspects over the years, making significant contributions to the Judiciary,” the Chief Executive said. “He was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star in 2019.” The Judiciary also conveyed its deep sadness over the passing of Lord Walker and extended its deepest sympathies to Lady Walker and his family.
The Security Bureau (SB) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Shenzhen University to jointly promote Hong Kong-Shenzhen youth development and co-operation on cultural exchanges, deepening its work in nurturing young people. It also held an induction course for members of the new-term SB Youth Uniformed Group Leaders Forum to launch training activities in the coming year. The MOU enables the two sides to co-organise activities in the coming three years, with 15 students from Shenzhen University joining the forum’s activities to enhance exchanges between youths in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. At the signing ceremony, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung said Shenzhen University has the nation's top academic talent and teaching resources, noting that it will provide teaching guidance and arrange visits for the forum, including visits to government departments, scientific research and cultural institutions as well as major enterprises, to help members obtain a deeper understanding of the country's development. Apart from organising training camps and visit activities to provide teamwork and leadership training, the SB will also hold seminars and study tours to allow members to learn more about the country and broaden their horizons, Mr Tang added. The bureau established the forum in October last year to deepen the participation of government departments and civil services in youth work. The forum's new term comprises 29 young people who are distinguished members of various youth uniformed groups of disciplined services with great potential. The two-day, one-night induction course marks the beginning of the forum’s training activities in the coming year. In addition to training in discipline, physical fitness and team building, a number of distinguished personalities from different sectors were invited to share their experiences.