Transcript of remarks by Acting S for S after FCC meeting

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Acting Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee, at a media session at Central Government Offices, Tamar, after the Fight Crime Committee meeting this afternoon (November 26):

Reporter: (On the rise in the number of Mainland visitors arrested and the enactment of the Article 23.)

Acting Secretary for Security: I will answer your first question first. There is a 10 per cent increase in the number of Mainlanders arrested for crime in the past ten months. They are mainly caught for offences related to thefts - miscellaneous thefts or shop thefts. But we have to compare this figure with the big increase of Mainland visitors in the last ten months. The percentage of Mainlanders arrested for crime out of the total number of arrivals is 0.4 persons out of 10,000 visitors. That is very low. And this rate is actually half of visitors from other countries. So the quality of the Mainland visitors, by comparison, is quite good. In regard to your question about Article 23, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has a constitutional responsibility to enact a law to protect the security of the state under Article 23. The Hong Kong SAR Government has repeatedly mentioned that the priorities of the Government are on livelihood matters and these include housing, poverty, and environmental issues. The concentration of the HKSAR Government will be to resolve issues in these areas. We, of course, understand Hong Kong people's concern about the Article 23. In any event, if there is any legislative proposal we will ensure that this will be done only after there has been thorough discussion and consensus built in Hong Kong, and people generally understand that the freedom and the rights they presently enjoy in Hong Kong, and guaranteed under the Basic Law and the laws of Hong Kong, they will continue to enjoy these rights and freedoms.

Reporter: (On the increase in the seizure of ketamine.)

Acting Secretary for Security: First of all, there is abundant supply of ketamine around the globe, so this is a supply and demand equation. The second reason for this is there has been a lot of co-operation between the Hong Kong law enforcement agencies, i.e. the Police and Customs, with overseas law enforcement agencies. And through this international co-operation and exchange of intelligence, a lot of big seizures have been made and that also accounted for the big increase in ketamine.

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

Ends/Monday, November 26, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:02