Following is the full text of a speech by the Secretary for Security, Mrs Regina Ip, at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show 2002 today (February 27) :
Mr (Michael) Sze, Mr Leung (Sik-wah), distinguished guests, Ladies & Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to have been invited to officiate at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show. Today being the 16th day of the Year of the Horse, in fact, one day after the Chinese Valentine's Day, let me begin by wishing that all your dreams come true.
Hong Kong is a leading supplier of precious jewellery, with particular strength in the production of pure gold items and jade. Given Hong Kong's strengths in production capability and market responsiveness, our jewellery industry has become the fourth largest exporter of precious jewellery in the world and the leading exporter of imitation jewellery.
In fact, modern jewellery has expanded beyond its traditional value as a luxury item. Its artistic significance is manifested in many aspects of our life. The creative design of Hong Kong jewellery not only emphasises the sophistication of our crafting skills but also the classical qualities of glamour and elegance.
Jewellery products, because of their precious value and charm, attract customers and criminals alike. Inevitably, security has become a major concern of the jewellery industry. However, in my capacity as the Secretary for Security, I can assure you that the police always accord high priority to ensure the safety and security of jewellery and goldsmith shops in Hong Kong.
Apart from intense patrol in the vicinity of jewellery shops and other high-risk premises, officers from the Police Crime Prevention Bureau maintain close liaison with owners or persons in charge of these premises so as to give timely advice on crime prevention and security measures.
As we all know, prevention is always better than cure. The police can only do their job better with full cooperation from the trade. Preventive measures taken by jewellery shop operators and organisers of jewellery exhibitions, such as today's fair, in hiring security guards and using hi-tech security devices play a significant role in deterring theft and burglaries.
With cooperation between the industry and the Police, I am happy to inform you that the number of goldsmith/ watch shop robberies for 2001 was 11 cases, which is the second lowest on record in the past 23 years.
The Government, however, will not be complacent. It will continue to try its best to provide a safe and secure environment for the operation of the jewellery industry. This will be done through vigilant law enforcement actions by our highly professional Police Force, and also enhancement of the service quality of the security and guarding industry by implementing the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance.
Lastly, I would like to wish the organisers of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show 2002 and the sponsors every success with this year's exhibition. While I cannot guarantee business, I can assure you that we will continue to work hard to make sure Hong Kong remains one of the safest international cities. I am sure you will agree that safety and security provides the best environment for business to flourish. It remains for me to wish all of you roaring business in the first jewellery fair in the Year of the Horse, and plenty of good fortune in the year to come.
End/Wednesday, February 27, 2002