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LCQ16: Police committed to combating all kinds of illegal prostitution activities

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Starry Lee in the Legislative Council today (November 4):


     It has been reported that through cyber patrols, the Police combatted prostitution activities on the Internet under the name of making friends and "compensated dating".  At present, the authorities apply various ordinances (including the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (Cap. 390), the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) and the Prevention of Child Pornography Ordinance (Cap. 579)) to combat illegal activities relating to prostitution as well as publication of obscene and indecent articles on the Internet.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of law enforcement actions carried out by the Police through cyber patrols last year to combat prostitution activities on the Internet, and the details of the actions concerned;

(b) of the respective numbers of persons, who were involved in the aforesaid illegal activities, arrested by the Police under the above ordinances in each of the past three years and, among them, the respective numbers of persons being prosecuted and convicted, the penalties imposed on them, as well as the respective numbers of females and crime syndicates involved in "compensated dating" activities; and

(c) whether the Police had, in the past three years, assessed if the actions against such prostitution activities on the Internet were effective, and whether prostitution activities in chat rooms or discussion forums on the various web sites had decreased?



(a) & (b) There is no specific definition of the term "compensated dating" in the laws of Hong Kong.  It usually refers to the participation of young girls or individuals in financial need through public information platforms in social activities involving financial transactions.  Some of these activities involve prostitution.

     The Police are all along committed to combating all kinds of illegal prostitution activities, especially prostitution activities organised by syndicates and those involving underage girls, including illegal prostitution activities conducted under the guise of "compensated dating".  At present, the Police combat prostitution-related offences in accordance with legislation including the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200), the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (Cap. 390) and the Prevention of Child Pornography Ordinance (Cap. 579), to prevent the exploitation of others for the purposes of prostitution; combat organised prostitution activities; and lessen the nuisance to members of the public that vice activities may cause.

     To crack down on individuals who arrange illegal prostitution activities through the Internet, the Police regularly conduct cyber patrol and enter the chat rooms or discussion forums of suspicious websites to check if anyone arranges illegal prostitution activities in any manner, and take enforcement actions whenever necessary.  The Police have not maintained separate statistics on enforcement actions taken against illegal prostitution activities on the Internet in the guise of making friends and "compensated dating" and on the number of persons involved in the activities of "compensated dating".  In respect of individual operations, the Police arrested 23 persons through evidence collected during cyber patrols in a large scale operation carried out in recent years.  Seven persons were subsequently prosecuted for engaging underage girls in prostitution and enticing customers for them, and were sentenced up to 21 months imprisonment upon conviction.  

(c) With the Police stepping up efforts against illegal prostitution activities on the Internet, public information about suspected prostitution activities found by the Police on discussion forums and dating web sites during cyber patrols has decreased.  Some web masters have even posted warning messages on their web sites reminding users not to be involved in illegal prostitution activities.  Some web masters also take the initiative to delete messages relating to prostitution whenever such information is identified.  The Police will continue to take law enforcement actions against illegal prostitution activities.

Ends/Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:52


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