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Speech by the Secretary for Security (English only)


The following is the speech (English only) by the Secretary for Security, Mrs Regina Ip, at the Special Reception of the FATF XIII Plenary Meeting at the Grand Foyer, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today (January 31):

Chief Executive Mr Tung, Mrs Lo, Distinguished Delegates and Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to welcome you to this evening's reception in honour of all delegates and guests attending the Plenary Meeting of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and the Special Forum on Terrorist Financing, both of which are held in Hong Kong for the first time. May I begin by extending a warm welcome to all of you, especially our overseas visitors.

We in Hong Kong are very fortunate to have the opportunity to live in a city rated as one of the safest in the world, with one of the lowest crime rates among major cities and freedom from terrorist attacks, or anything that comes close to being a credible threat, so far. But one of the lessons we have learned from the tragic events of September 11 is that we would be ill advised to take safety for granted. Nations and cities are safe, and will remain safe, only if we maintain our vigilance and take the necessary precaution and action to eliminate evil and terror. Another lesson we have learned is that with the globalisation of the threat of terror, international co-operation is the key to success in the campaign against terrorist activities which threaten to destroy the civilized world that we know.

That is the backdrop against which we are meeting in Hong Kong today. That is also the latest development in human history which gives special meaning to the work of the Financial Action Task Force. Since its establishment in 1989, the Task Force has worked wonders in countering money laundering and in choking off funding for transnational serious and organised crime. After September 11, the Task Force has risen to the challenge, and taken on most effectively the additional task of targeting and cutting off funding for terrorist activities. Much has been accomplished in the past four months, and I know that in the past few days delegates have been working hard to refine their recommendations. I salute you for your heroic efforts. I know for sure that a lot of work remains to be done, as terrorism is an on-going threat and the defeat of the Taliban regime certainly does not signify the termination of all evil. But I can assure you that the work of the Task Force has the strongest support of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This evening, we are very privileged that the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr C H Tung, is able to find time off his busy schedule to say a few words to us. May I now call upon Mr Tung to share with us his thoughts.

End/Thursday, January 31, 2002


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