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Overall law and order situation sustains improvement in 2014 (with photos)

     The overall law and order situation in Hong Kong saw sustained improvement in 2014 with a decrease of 7.1 per cent in the overall crime over 2013, according to the Commissioner of Police, Mr Tsang Wai-hung.

    Speaking at a press conference today (January 27) to review the crime situation in Hong Kong last year, Mr Tsang said the overall crime figures maintained a downward trend to 67,740 cases, representing a drop of 7.1 per cent when compared with 72,911 cases in 2013. The overall crime rate hit a new low since 1997. The crime rate measuring by number of crimes per 100,000 population stood at 936 cases and fell below 1,000 for the first time since 1973.

     A total of 11,073 cases of violent crime were recorded last year, being a drop of about 8.9 per cent and a new low since 1971. Almost all crimes were on a downward trend and those with drops of more than ten per cent included homicide (down 56.5 per cent), rape (down 46.7 per cent), robbery (down 38.2 per cent), burglary (down 24.4 per cent), indecent assault (down 23.8 per cent), youth crimes (down 19.9 per cent), triad-related crimes (down 19.3 per cent), serious drug offences (down 18.2 per cent) and arson (down 10.3 per cent).

    The crimes with the number of cases on the rise in 2014 included deception (up 17.9 per cent) and blackmail (up 20.7 per cent). There were 8,861 deception cases in 2014, being an increase of 1,343 cases when compared with 2013, which was mainly attributed to the rises in social media deception, online business fraud and telephone deception.

    For social media deception, there were 1,239 cases in 2014, being an increase of 978 cases or 3.7-fold, and the pecuniary loss rose by around 40 per cent to around $70 million, when compared with 2013. Such increase was caused by a number of deception cases initiated by instant messaging applications emerged in April last year. Analysis showed that most cases were associated with the security loophole of .PIN・.

    "The Hong Kong Police had obtained a connection with the head office of the application concerned through INTERPOL. Our analysis results were shared in details with suggestions as to how to fix the vulnerability advanced. Local publicity will be enhanced by Police as well," Mr Tsang said.

    "The Technology Crime Division also formed a working group targeting social media deception in September 2014. Major local convenience stores and virtual game card distributors were invited to the meetings to discuss and work out measures to prevent crime and raise customers・ awareness," he added.

    There were 2,375 reported cases of online business fraud in 2014, being an increase of 64 per cent or 926 cases, and the pecuniary loss rose by more than ten per cent to around $48 million when compared with last year. Around 65 per cent of online business fraud involved e-auction and online shopping while the remaining 35 per cent were those relating to online business and credit card misuse.

     Police received 2,220 reports of telephone deception cases in 2014, being a rise of 8.5 per cent or 173 cases over 2013, and the pecuniary loss increased by around 17 per cent to around $45 million. Almost all cases were committed by modus operandi of .detained son・ (1,195 cases) and .guess who・ (1,002 cases). The rate of failed attempts was around 70 per cent. Among them, 54 telephone deception cases of .detained son・ were detected with 43 male Mainland two-way permit holders arrested.

    Turning to blackmail, 885 cases were recorded in 2014, being a rise of 152 cases over 2013. The increase was attributed to the rise in the number of blackmail cases involving .naked chat・. .Naked chat・ blackmail cases rose from 477 cases in 2013 to 638 cases in 2014, representing a rise of 161 cases or around 34 per cent. Pecuniary loss also marked an increase of around 35 per cent to $2.3 million and the highest amount lost in a single case reached around $110,000.

    In view of the inexorable rise in technology crime, Police have made continued efforts to enhance publicity and education, including the rollout of a scam prevention platform .Fight Scams Together・ in July 2014, to heighten public vigilance.
    :On January 1, 2015, the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau has been established with manpower of 180 members. To combat technology crime, including .naked chat・, the establishment of the new bureau will enhance the Force・s professional and sophisticated capability in investigation, digital forensics and training. Partnership with other law enforcement agencies, government departments and local stakeholders will also be strengthened.  Public knowledge and awareness in the prevention of technology crime will be further heightened through education and community involvement,; said the Commissioner.

    As regards cases on the decrease, there were 27 homicide cases in 2014, being a drop of 35 cases from the 62 cases recorded in 2013.      If the Lamma incident involving 39 counts of manslaughter were set aside, the figure in fact rose by 4 cases. All the 27 homicide cases were detected. Five involved domestic violence and nine were committed by relatives.

    In 2014, 5,629 wounding and serious assault cases were recorded, representing a drop of 534 cases (down 8.7 per cent) over 2013 and being the lowest record since 1981. Among them, 478 wounding and serious assault cases involved triad elements, representing a drop of 15.1 per cent. There were 682 youths arrested for wounding and serious assault cases, being a drop of 23 per cent.

     There were 309 robbery cases in 2014, a drop of 191 cases over 2013, which marked its record low since 1969. No genuine firearm was involved.

    As for rape cases, 56 reports were recorded in 2014, showing significant decrease of 46.7 per cent from 2013 and marking the lowest since 1977. Fifty five cases were detected. Indecent assault cases totalled 1,115 in 2014, a decrease of 348 cases over 2013.  There also saw a decrease of 104 cases to 256 in the number of indecent assault cases taken place on public transport and related places, and around 55 per cent (146 cases) occurred within MTR areas.

    Serious drug cases totalled 1,855 in 2014, representing a decrease of 414 cases. There saw decreases in cases relating to most kinds of dangerous drugs except those relating to Ice which marked an increase of eight per cent or 43 cases to 578 cases.

    A decrease was also recorded in the number of people arrested for serious drug cases.  In 2014, there were 2,422 arrestees, a drop of 18.4 per cent. Among those arrested were 445 youths, being a decrease of 180. The number of juvenile aged between 10 and 15 arrested dropped by 42 people to 78.  The number of juvenile arrested for trafficking in dangerous drugs saw a considerable drop by one-third to 63.

    :Since late February 2014, cases of trafficking in dangerous drug involving juvenile aged between 10 and 15 will be taken up for investigation by District Crime Squads or formations of higher level, preserving more resources for tracking down syndicates behind the scenes, including applying to court for enhanced sentencing.  Up till the end of 2014, backstage syndicate members were arrested in 13 cases.  In the wake of the fruitful results, Police had the initiatives extended to drug trafficking cases involving young persons aged between 16 and 17 in late July 2014, resulting in the arrests of backstage syndicate members in 6 cases up till the end of last year,; Mr Tsang said.

    :To combat young drug abusers・ becoming hidden, Police will continue to maintain close cooperation with other government departments and all sectors of the community to promote vigilance in the community against the problem of youth drug abuse at home, and enhance parents・ awareness of the problem.;

     Turning to youth crimes, 4,324 youths were arrested for criminal cases in 2014, a decrease of 1,073 persons when compared with 2013. They were mainly involved in cases like shop and miscellaneous theft, wounding and serious assault, serious drug offences and criminal damage.
    There were a total of 1,669 criminal cases of domestic violence in 2014, a decrease of 201 cases when compared with the previous year. Situations in domestic violence miscellaneous cases and domestic incidents where violence was not involved and which were minor in nature have also improved.

     Police take a .zero tolerance・ stance towards domestics violence cases and will continue to adopt a .multi-agency cross-sectoral approach・. When dealing with domestic violence cases, Police will conduct risk assessment, and safeguard the safety of the victims and their families through referrals. Besides, Police will also remind the victims the importance of seeking early assistance.

    The Commissioner also took the opportunity to introduce the Commissioner・s Operational Priorities for 2015 which include violent crime; triads, syndicated and organised crime; dangerous drugs; quick cash crime; cyber security and technology crime; public safety; and terrorism.

    In 2015, Police will continue to ensure a strong presence to deter violent crime particularly those involving firearms or explosive devices; target street gangs especially 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 and organised crime activities. Proactive measures will be taken to investigate the proceeds of crime with emphasis on the attack against 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 youths; as well as to adopt a multi-agency and community-based approach to promote awareness and prevent psychotropic drug abuse among students and juveniles.  

    As for quick cash crimes, Police will focus on combating criminal syndicates involving deception, especially the rising telephone, Internet and social media deceptions. Apart from arrest actions, Police will also lay stress on anti-deception publicity and education to heighten public awareness.

     To enhance cyber security and combat technology crimes, the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau will adopt a multi-agency approach to promote public awareness of computer and cyber security as well as the risk of being exploited while using the Internet and social media; enhance cooperation with other law enforcement agencies; and enhance professional training and preparedness to handle and investigate reports of technology crimes.

    In respect of public safety, Police will enhance public understanding and support of the Police・s role and responsibilities in maintaining public order and public security. We will continue engaging organisers and stakeholders of public events proactively. To ensure preparedness for effective response to major incidents and disasters at the rescue phase, we will conduct regular multi-agency exercises to test and improve contingency plans. Capacity in the recovery phase will also be enhanced to ensure timely opening of affected areas.

    In addition, Police will continue to implement proactive anti-terrorism measures in three main aspects namely prevention, preparedness and response, which include strengthening intelligence collection on terrorism and enhancing protection of critical infrastructure as well as sensitive premises.

    In conclusion, Mr Tsang said: :According to a .Prosperity Index・ in 2014 published by the Legatum Institute in the United Kingdom early November last year, Hong Kong ranked top in the .Safety & Security・ sub-index among 142 countries and regions in the world for two consecutive years. As to the .Rule of Law Index・ in 2013/14 announced by the World Justice Project, Hong Kong was ranked the fourth among 99 countries and regions in .Order and Security・. Besides, Hong Kong came the sixth among 144 economies in .Reliability of Police Services・ in .The Global Competitiveness Report・ published by the World Economic Forum in 2014. The data exhibit that Hong Kong is one of the safest and most stable societies in the world.

    :The overall law and order situation in Hong Kong marked a further improvement in 2014. These are achieved by the continued efforts of the whole community. Law-abiding citizens, Police・s effective enforcement as well as cooperation between Police and the community are integral parts for achieving the goal of ensuring Hong Kong remaining safe and stable.

    :The Hong Kong Police, as an enforcement agency, will remain devoted and steadfast for the mission of maintaining law and order. We hope that our efforts will secure consistent support of the community.;

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

Ends/Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:54


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