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S for S begins visit to London (with photos)

     The Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, began his visit to London, the United Kingdom (UK) on May 1 (London time), where he met with senior UK officials and business leaders to update them on the latest developments in Hong Kong.

     In the morning, he called on the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Hugo Swire. Mr Lai briefed Mr Swire on the latest law and order situation in Hong Kong.

     Mr Lai then met with the Vice-President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Chief Constable Phil Gormley, and they exchanged views on matters of common concern. Mr Lai also looked forward to closer co-operation between Hong Kong and the UK in fighting transnational crimes.

     At his meeting with the Director of Asylum, Home Office, Mr Graham Ralph, Mr Lai was briefed on the torture claims screening mechanism in the UK and exchanged views with him on asylum seekers.

     Earlier, Mr Lai spoke at a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Association. He told the audience that Hong Kong remained one of the safest cities in the world. With its overall crime rate lower than many metropolitan cities such as Tokyo and Toronto, Hong Kong provides a safe environment attracting talented people from abroad as well as students and families to live, work and visit.

     "We welcome people from around the world to come and contribute to our city's development and progress. Our free flows of people, money, ideas and information are just a few indicators of Hong Kong's successful reunification with our motherland in 1997," he said.

     "Under 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong has preserved not only its remarkable way of life and capitalist system, but also its tried and trusted common law legal system based on the English system. Our judiciary remains fiercely independent. We uphold the rule of law and Hong Kong people enjoy a wide range of rights and freedoms, among which are the right of assembly, of procession and of demonstration.

     "In the seven years from 2005 to 2012 there were around 36,500 public meetings and processions in Hong Kong. That is an average of about 14 per day. The vast majority of these events went off without incident. This is a creditable record and part and parcel of our reputation as a world city in Asia."

     Mr Lai said Hong Kong continues to strengthen its bilateral security relations with foreign states under the "One Country, Two Systems" formula.

     "So far, we have signed bilateral agreements with 29 jurisdictions on 'mutual legal assistance in criminal matters', 19 jurisdictions on 'surrender of fugitive offenders' and 13 jurisdictions on the 'transfer of sentenced persons'. In each case, this includes bilateral agreements with the UK.

     "Hong Kong will continue playing a key role in international business, finance and in contributing to global security and crime prevention through our international connections and collaboration, including with the UK Government," he said.

Ends/Thursday, May 2, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:32


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