The Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose SK Lee, said today (January 16) the Security Bureau would continue to co-ordinate the work of the disciplined forces with a view to upholding Hong Kong's position as one of the safest cities in the world, maintaining its crime rate at a low level and providing efficient services to the community.
Mr Lee made the above remarks when he briefed the Legislative Council Panel on Security on the Chief Executive's Policy Address 2004.
During the meeting, he elaborated on the major work of the Security Bureau in the next three and a half years, including new and ongoing initiatives.
On new initiatives, Mr Lee pointed out that the Security Bureau would further study international standards and the latest technologies to enhance security of immigration control.
"If the international standards and technologies concerned are practicable, both technically and in other aspects, they will enhance our immigration control and also boost the confidence of other countries in the anti-forgery features of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passports, thereby encouraging the continued granting of visa-free access to HKSAR passport holders," he said.
On anti-money laundering, Mr Lee said the Security Bureau would study carefully the revised set of Forty Recommendations issued by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FAFT) in June 2003 to make our financial system more consistent with the latest international standards in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
He said another new initiative of the Security Bureau was to allow the private sector to provide services relating to the celebration of marriages so as to provide greater convenience to members of the public.
As regards the progress of the Security Bureau's initiatives set out in 2003, Mr Lee said, "In the coming three and a half years, our bureau will continue to implement various initiatives, including enhancing the capacity of combating terrorism and transnational organised crimes."
He said the Legislative Council Bills Committee was now scrutinising the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2003. The Security Bureau would work closely with the Bills Committee to take the Bill forward.
At the same time, the Security Bureau was formulating legislative proposals to implement the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. It would also continue discussions with other regions and countries to enhance co-operation with other jurisdictions in criminal matters relating to Mutual Legal Assistance, Surrender of Fugitive Offenders and Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
Mr Lee said other legislative work included making the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) a statutory body. To further strengthen the existing system of handling complaints against the police, the work, functions, powers and related matters of the IPCC would be clearly laid down in law.
In addition, Mr Lee said the Security Bureau would continue to work on the implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law.
"We appreciate that public understanding and support are of paramount importance to our work in implementing our constitutional duty. We will re-examine the issues involved. There is no fixed timetable for the legislative exercise," he said.
In view of the continuing increase in the flow of people and goods across the boundary, Mr Lee said the Security Bureau would take the necessary action to tie in with the construction of major cross-boundary infrastructure projects, including the establishment of a new boundary control point on the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor. The bureau would continue to press ahead with other preparatory work, including the necessary legislative amendments for the co-location arrangement.
While efforts were being made to attract more visitors to Hong Kong in stimulating the local economy, Mr Lee said the Government would continue to make every effort to combat illegal employment and protect the jobs of local workers.
During the meeting, Mr Lee also mentioned two other initiatives, including the issuance of Smart Identity cards in phases and the relief of prison over-crowding.
He said the replacement exercise of the Smart Identity cards had been going smoothly since it was launched in June 2003. On the proposed prison complex, he said the feasibility study was still under way.
Ends/Friday, January 16, 2004