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Overall law and order situation further improved in 2013 (with photo)

     The overall law and order situation in Hong Kong marked a further improvement in 2013 with a decrease of four per cent in the overall crime over 2012, according to the Commissioner of Police, Mr Tsang Wai-hung.

     Speaking at a press conference today (January 28) to review the crime situation in Hong Kong last year, Mr Tsang said that during the period, a total of 72,911 cases of crime were recorded, representing a drop of four per cent when compared with 75,930 cases in 2012.

     The overall crime rate fell to new lows in the present decade with a drop of more than 10 per cent when compared with 81,315 cases in 2004, and the crime rate measuring by number of crimes per 100,000 population stood at 1,015 cases in 2013, a decrease of more than 15 per cent when compared with 1,199 cases in 2004.

     When compared with other international cities such as Singapore, Tokyo, New York, London and Paris, the overall crime rate in Hong Kong maintained at low level.  Such rate measuring by number of crimes per 100,000 population in Hong Kong in 2012 was 1,061. Though higher than that of Singapore (584), the figure was lower than those of Paris (10,455), London (9,500), New York (2,361) and Tokyo (1,387).  This indicated that the overall law and order situation in Hong Kong was rather good when compared with other major cities.

     There were a total of 12,153 cases of violent crime recorded last year, a drop of about 5.2 per cent when compared with 2012. The figure marked a new low in the past decade.

     Most crimes recorded significant decreases and seven major items including robbery, burglary, wounding and serious assault, theft, criminal damage, triad-related offences and youth crimes fell to new lows in the past decade.

     Mr Tsang said the crimes with the number of cases on the rise in 2013 included deception (up 8.6 per cent), blackmail (up 1.5 fold), serious drug offences (up six per cent), and homicide (up 1.3 fold).

     A total of 7,518 cases of deception were registered in 2013, being an increase of 595 cases or 8.6 per cent when compared with the previous year. Increase was mainly seen in e-mail scam (up 891 cases), online business fraud (up 344 cases) and social media fraud (up 132 cases).

     There were 1,153 email scams in corporate level (up 723 cases or 1.7 fold) with pecuniary loss amounting to $760 million in 2013, giving more than three-fold increase when compared with 2012. The most substantial loss of such scam recorded a loss of $75.2 million. For email scams in personal level, there were 544 cases (up 168 cases) in 2013 and victims lost from several hundred dollars to $360,000.

     There were a total of 1,449 online business fraud cases in 2013, an increase of 344 cases when compared with 2012, and 851 cases of them related to online auction or shopping.

     For social media deception, 2013 saw an increase of 132 cases or one-fold to 261 cases. The pecuniary loss was $50 million, an increase of 66 per cent over 2012.

     Turning to blackmail, 733 cases were recorded in 2013, a rise of 440 cases or 1.5-fold over 2012. The increase was mainly attributed to the rise in the number of blackmail cases involving .naked chat・. In 2013, Police received 477 .naked chat・ blackmail cases, an increase of 7-fold over 60 cases in 2012. The victims were mainly males and the pecuniary loss ranged from more than a hundred dollars to $90,000. A majority of the fraudsters looked like Non-ethnic Chinese and most of the money cheated was remitted to the Philippines.

     To tackle the surge in number of .naked chat・ blackmail cases, the Commercial Crime Bureau launched Operation GLOBALTEE since October 2013 to combat such crimes by analysis of intelligence, law-enforcement actions, multi-agency collaboration, as well as publicity and education. Police have started a series of publicity initiatives, including publicity via .Police Magazine・, Hong Kong Police YouTube Channel, radio and TV programmes.

     Police efforts have begun to attain favourable results. The number of .naked chat・ blackmail cases dropped from its climax of 82 cases in October 2013 to 51 and 36 cases in November and December. We will continue exerting our strength to combat such crimes.

     Serious drug offences totalled 2,269 in 2013, a rise of 128 cases or six per cent when compared with the preceding year. The significant rise was mainly attributed to a sharp increase of about 61 per cent in the number of anti-drug operations conducted by the Police in 2013. While cases involved ice, cocaine and cannabis were on the rise, decreases were recorded in cases involving ketamine and heroine.

     It should be noted that, among youths arrested for serious drug offences, the number of arrested juveniles aged between 10 and 15 for drug trafficking cases saw a remarkable increase of 43 from 52 in 2012 to 95 in 2013. It indicated that more juveniles were exploited by drug traffickers. In response to this, Police will strengthen publicity on youths・ involvement in drug trafficking cases in addition to drug abuse, and continue applying at court for more severe punishment inflicted upon drug trafficking cases involving the use of youths.

     As for seizure of drugs by Police and the Customs, there saw rises in the seizure of cannabis (76 kg, up 21 kg), ice (174 kg, up 101 kg) and MDMA pills (3,320 pills, up 3,150 pills), but drops in the seizure of heroin (69 kg, down 9 kg), ketamine (245 kg, down 479 kg) and cocaine (294 kg, down 488 kg).

     There were 62 homicide cases in 2013, a significant increase of 1.3 fold over the 27 cases in 2012. The surge in number of homicides was due to the Lamma Island ferry collision on October 1st, 2012 with a death toll of 39. The two captains were charged with 39 offences of manslaughter respectively in April 2013. If the Lamma incident was set aside, the figure was decreased by four cases from 2012.

     Out of the 62 homicide cases, 61 were detected. Among the 23 homicide cases excluding Lamma Island ferry collision incident, eight involved domestic violence, eight were committed by relatives, two were triad-related personal disputes, one was manslaughter while the other four were resulted from different kinds of disputes or mental illness. The undetected case happened in December 2013 in which a female was found dead inside her wardrobe. Police have identified and are tracking the suspect with earnest efforts.

     Mr Tsang also pointed out that crimes such as miscellaneous theft (down 7.9 per cent), criminal damage (down 12.4 per cent), wounding and serious assault (down 9.6 per cent), burglary (down 15.2 per cent) and triad-related offences (down 13 per cent) all recorded a decrease in 2013.

     He then briefly talked about the crime situation of robbery, rape and indecent assault, domestic violence (crime) and youth crimes.

     A total of 500 robbery cases were recorded in 2013, a decrease of 116 cases when compared with 2012, which is the lowest since 1969. No robbery with genuine firearm was reported in 2013.

     There were 105 rape cases in 2013, a drop by 16 cases when compared with 2012, and 97 cases were detected. Among them, eight cases involving strangers, 22 involving victims who got raped after getting drunk and 16 initiated by Internet acquaintances.

     Indecent assault cases totalled 1,463 in 2013, a decrease of 32 cases over 2012.  However, there saw an increase (totalling 360 cases, up 23 cases) in the number of cases taken place on public transport and related places, and more than 50 per cent (195 cases) occurred within MTR areas.

     There were a total of 1,870 criminal cases of domestic violence in 2013, a decrease of 132 cases when compared with the previous year. There also saw a drop in the number of domestic violence miscellaneous cases and family incident cases where violence was not involved and cases were more minor in nature.

     Turning to youth crimes, 5,397 youths were arrested for criminal cases in 2013, a decrease of 1,125 persons when compared with 2012. They were mainly involved in cases like shop and miscellaneous theft, wounding & serious assault, serious drug offences and unlawful society offences.

     Since the launching of Police YouTube Channel, the accumulated number of subscribers and number of video views have exceeded 3,600 and 420,000 respectively.  Police also launched optimized versions of Force Application in March and September 2013. The number of downloads of the Application has exceeded 90,000.  It is anticipated that such channels will offer great attraction to the community, particularly youths, so as to disseminate crime prevention messages.

     The Commissioner also took the opportunity to introduce the Commissioner・s Operational Priorities for 2014 which include violent crime; triads, syndicated and organised crime; dangerous drugs; quick cash crime; cyber security and technology crime; public safety; and terrorism.

     In 2014, Police will continue to ensure a strong presence to deter violent crime especially those involving firearms or explosive devices; target street gangs in particular those involving young persons, as well as to professionally handle and investigate all reports of domestic violence.

     Police will also continue its efforts in targeting triad personalities, and cross-boundary and transnational syndicated or organised crime activities. Proactive measures will be taken to investigate the proceeds of crime and target money laundering activities.

     In combating dangerous drug, Police will continue to enhance co-operation with overseas law enforcement agencies to interdict illicit drug flow into Hong Kong; proactively target drug traffickers especially those exploiting young persons and juveniles; as well as to adopt a multi-agency and community-based approach to promote anti-drug awareness among students and juveniles.   

     In tackling quick cash crime, apart from pickpocketing, street, telephone and Internet deception, the Force will continue taking proactive measures against social media deception activities.

     Cyber security is an item generated this year to lay emphasis on new challenges met by policing. Technology crime will be tackled in three aspects, i.e. adopting a multi-agency approach to promote public awareness of computer and cyber security as well as the risk associated with social media; enhancing cooperation with other law enforcement agencies; and improving co-ordination and sharing of expertise in handling and investigating technology crime.

     In respect of public safety, Police will continue engaging organisers and stakeholders of public events proactively to enhance mutual understanding and public support. During the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Finance Ministers' Meeting held in Hong Kong in September this year, we will adopt a multi-agency approach to ensure that the meeting will be held in a safe and secure environment.

     In addition, the Force will continue to implement various anti-terrorism measures in three main aspects namely prevention, preparedness and response.

     In conclusion, Mr Tsang said: "The overall law and order situation in Hong Kong marked a further improvement in 2013 with the overall crime rate and a number of crimes marking new lows in the past 10 years. I would like to thank different sectors of the community for their partnership with the Force in preventing and fighting crime; the good citizens for their co-operation with the Force in combating crime; and all law-abiding Hong Kong citizens.     

     "Last year, Police also gained recognition in various local and international competitions and rating, including ranking of the 2nd place in the indicator of .Order and Security・ among 97 countries and places in the World Justice Project in 2012-13; and the ranking of the 4th place in .Reliability of Police Services・ among 148 countries and cities around the world in .The Global Competitiveness Report・ published in September 2013 by the World Economic Forum.

     "We will continue dedicating to quality services to the community. We hope that the public will work jointly with us to help fulfilling our commitment of securing public safety as well as maintaining law and order, so as to ensure that Hong Kong remains one of the safest and most stable societies in the world."

     Also attending the press conference were the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management), Mr Ma Wai-luk, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Mr Lo Wai-chung.

Police report no. 380
Issued by PPRB

Ends/Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:22


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