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Transcript of remarks by S for S after FCC meeting

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, at a media session at Central Government Offices, Tamar, after the Fight Crime Committee meeting this afternoon (August 1):

Reporter: The Australian Federal Police recently made a large amount of drug seizures worth about $4 billion, with the arrest of four Hong Kong residents. And last month our Customs officers seized $760 million of cocaine .... Are we seeing more and more Hong Kong residents playing a more active role in this crime ...?

Secretary for Security: First of all, I must give thanks to our law enforcement agencies who have very close co-operation with their counterparts overseas that has resulted in a seizure of a very substantial amount of drugs. This sends a very clear signal to everybody, in particular to those who intend to be involved in drug trafficking, that our law enforcement agencies will spare no effort to tackle this problem and we have very heavy penalties if they are convicted of these drug offences. The seizure itself speaks for a fact that we are successful in international co-operation. As we all know, the drug problem is not unique to Hong Kong. It's a problem worldwide and it is a problem that needs constant efforts to tackle. The success from the seizure of a large amount of drugs, both in Hong Kong and overseas, fully demonstrates our ability and our determination to fight against drug trafficking. Of course, during enforcement actions, people are arrested, and this sends a very strong signal to everybody, not only to those in Hong Kong, that they should not commit this kind of crime, which is very serious.

Reporter: What is the role of Hong Kong people in this Australian case ...?

Secretary for Security: The case itself is still under investigation and we all hope that some follow-up actions can be taken. So at this stage, I am not in a position to disclose publicly what we are going to do. But I can confirm that this kind of co-operation in tackling of the international drug trafficking is an ongoing aim of all the law enforcement agencies and the seizure of this substantial amount of drugs is one of the results out of this kind of co-operation.

Reporter: Can I follow up on my first question ...? Are we seeing more and more Hong Kong people actively involved in this?

Secretary for Security: Well, not necessarily, because in this case, it happened in Australia that we see the arrest of Hong Kong residents. But in fact, all over the world, law enforcement agencies have, through their enforcement actions, arrested quite a number of people. But I believe that it's only because in these cases that we have arrested Hong Kong residents so that it may give us an impression that Hong Kong people are involved. Of course, we must admit that there are Hong Kong residents who are involved in this kind of illegal activity, and the arrest of these persons vividly sent out a very strong signal to all that this community will not bear people committing this kind of crime.

     If you look at our courts, they imposed very heavy penalties on those drug traffickers and, of course, the more the Hong Kong society cares about this kind of issue, the much better, because we can all work together to send out a very strong signal to them. In particular during today's meeting, we had a certain discussion on young people who are taking various kinds of drugs. We have been working very, very hard to try to reduce the number and in fact for the past two years, we have seen a drop in the number of persons, in particular young persons, taking drugs. To this extent, we believe that we have already taken a step forward, but this is not saying that we are successful or we have succeeded to a certain degree. We must all work together. We must still work harder.

     Working towards this goal, enforcement is a very important part. As I said at the beginning, 70 per cent of the drug seizure resulted from enforcement actions at our entry and exit points, that is our checkpoints. Because Hong Kong is such a nice place for people to come and go in transit, the substantial amount of travellers passing through Hong Kong naturally will create some chances for those who intend to traffic drugs via Hong Kong. And it is particularly because of this point that we have to take very resolute enforcement actions.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:49


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