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Overall law and order situation remains stable in 2015 (with photo)

     The overall law and order situation in Hong Kong remained stable in 2015 with a decrease of 1.9 per cent in the overall crime over 2014, according to the Commissioner of Police, Mr Lo Wai-chung.
     Speaking at a press conference today (January 26) to review the crime situation in Hong Kong last year, Mr Lo said the overall crime figures dropped to 66,439 cases, a decrease of 1.9 per cent when compared with 67,740 cases in 2014. The overall crime rate fell to a new low since 1979. The crime rate measuring by number of crimes per 100,000 population stood at 910 cases and representing a new low in the past 43 years.
     A total of 10,889 cases of violent crime were recorded last year, being a drop of about 1.7 per cent and marked a new low since 1971. Crimes with the number of cases on a downward trend and those with drops of more than 10 per cent included robbery (down 27.8 per cent), homicide (down 18.5 per cent), arson (down 14 per cent), domestic violence crimes (down 12.3 per cent) and miscellaneous theft (down 11 per cent).
     The crimes with the number of cases on the rise included blackmail (up 54.4 per cent), rape (up 25 per cent), triad-related crimes (up 10.3 per cent), shop theft (up 8.1 per cent), deception (up 5.6 per cent) and serious drug offences (up 1.9 per cent).
     There were 9,353 deception cases reported in 2015, being an increase of 5.6 per cent when compared with 2014. The increase was mainly attributed to the rises in telephone deception and social media deception.
     For telephone deception, there were 2,880 cases in 2015, an increase of 29.7 per cent. The rate of failed attempts was around 70 per cent. The pecuniary loss rose to around $317.95 million, when compared with 2014. There were 1,422 social media deception cases in 2015, an increase of 183 cases or 14.8 per cent, and the pecuniary loss decreased by around 15 per cent to about $60 million.
     The rise of telephone deception was solely driven by "pretend mainland officials" case. There were 1,423 reported cases in 2015, an increase from 23 cases in 2014. The pecuniary loss rose to around $291.98 million, when compared with 2014.
     Although slight improvement was seen in the crime situation, such scams remained a concern. Police will continue to watch out for the trend in neighbouring cities and work on publicity targeting vulnerable communities to enhance the awareness of local residents and others staying in Hong Kong. Police will also strengthen enforcement through intelligence exchange, collaboration and mounting timely joint operations with the Mainland and overseas law enforcement agencies to combat such cross-boundary crimes.
     Mr Lo said whether it was telephone deception or social media deception, the fraudsters might change their modus operandi or excuses from time to time, yet they were all money-driven.  Public were reminded to stay alert and report to the Police whenever in doubt.
     There were 1,366 reported cases of blackmail in 2015, a rise of 481 cases. The increase was attributed to "naked chat".  A total of 1,098 cases of "naked chat" were registered in 2015, being an increase of about 72 per cent. The pecuniary loss rose by 52 percent to around $3.5 million.
     Twenty blackmail cases were associated with "distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)", an increase by 19 cases when compared with 2014. All the cases involved commercial organisations and only one company incurred actual loss of about $60,000.
     "The Cyber Security Centre of the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau monitors the flow of data of critical infrastructures round the clock so as to identify possible attacks as soon as possible and inform the organisations for immediate response.
     "We have already sent our representative to the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) that was established in Singapore last year for the purpose of coordinating the combating of cross-boundary technology crimes.  We will proactively leverage on the platform of the IGCI to step up collaboration and exchanges with overseas law enforcement agencies to deter 'naked chat', 'DDoS' and other regional and global technology crimes," said Mr Lo.
     There were 1,812 triad-related crimes in 2015, a rise of 169 cases or 10.3 per cent when compared with 2014, and mainly involved wounding and serious assault cases and unlawful society offences.
     For serious drug offences, there were 1,891 cases in 2015, representing an increase of 36 cases. While cases relating to Ice, cocaine and heroin were on the rise, decrease were recorded in cases involving ketamine and cannabis.
     In 2015, 2,537 people were arrested for serious drug offences (up 4.7 per cent). Among those arrested were 399 youths (down 10.3 per cent). Police will continue to proactively deter the exploitation of youths in drug trafficking.
     There were 70 rape cases in 2015, an increase of 14 cases or 25 per cent over 2014.  All cases were detected. Cases involving victims aged below 16 increased from nine to 20. Police will continue to step up publicity to strengthen the awareness of adolescents in protecting themselves and preventing sexual assault.
     As regards cases on the decrease, there were 22 homicide cases in 2015, being a drop of five cases from 27 cases recorded in 2014. Four cases involved domestic violence and six were committed by relatives. Nineteen cases were detected.
     There were 223 robbery cases in 2015, a drop of 27.8 per cent over 2014, which marked its record low since 1969. One case involved genuine firearm and was detected.
     In 2015, 2,579 burglary cases were recorded, being a decrease of 4.5 per cent, the lowest record since 1970.
     For wounding and serious assault, there were 5,360 cases in 2015 (down 4.8 per cent).
     Indecent assault cases totalled 1,068 in 2015, a decrease of 47 cases over 2014, which marked a record low since 2004. Cases taken place on public transport and related places decreased (238 cases, down 7 per cent), with around 50 per cent (123 cases) occurred within MTR areas.
     There were a total of 1,464 criminal cases of domestic violence in 2015, a decrease of 12.3 per cent when compared with 2014. There were 548 domestic violence miscellaneous cases (down 12 per cent) and 11,733 cases of domestic incidents where violence was not involved and which were minor in nature (up 1.9 per cent).
     In 2015, 33,778 persons were arrested for criminal offences, an increase of 99 persons when compared with 2014. The number of youths arrested for criminal offences dropped further to 4,135 (down 4.4 per cent), which is the lowest since 1989.
     The Commissioner also took the opportunity to introduce the Strategic Directions and Strategic Action Plan 2016-2018 of the Force.
     "To ensure that Hong Kong remains one of the safest and most stable societies in the world, and that the Force can still perform its duties efficiently and provide excellent services under the ever-changing environment, we have devised the Strategic Directions and Strategic Action Plan 2016-2018 to guide the Force to meet future challenges," he said.
     The four strategic directions of the Plan include engaging the community; enhancing personal and professional qualities of force members; strengthening criminal intelligence gathering force-wide; and supporting frontline units.
     Police will continue to strengthen the relationship with all sectors of the community, particularly the media and young people.  When the Fire Services Training School in Pat Heung is relocated, Police will set up a Junior Police Call Permanent Activity Centre cum Integrated Youth Training Camp to provide discipline, physical and team-building training for the youths so as to nurture their awareness in preventing crimes, sense of social responsibility and leadership.
     In enhancing the overall performance and professional qualities of police officers, Police will foster a strong sense of self-esteem and confidence, especially through the support and appreciation from members of the public.
     Police will enhance the intelligence-gathering capability against cyber crimes and establish standing mechanism to support the frontline.
     The Commissioner's Operational Priorities for 2016 are violent crime; triads, syndicated and organised crime; dangerous drugs; quick cash crime; cyber security and technology crime; public safety; and terrorism.
     In conclusion, Mr Lo said: "The overall law and order situation in Hong Kong is satisfactory with overall crime rate maintained at low level when compared with metropolis of similar degree of development like Singapore, Tokyo, New York, Paris, London and Toronto.
     Researches published by a number of think tanks and international organisations have all demonstrated that the law and order situation in Hong Kong is satisfactory and recognised the efforts of the Force.
     According to the "Prosperity Index" published by Legatum Institute of the United Kingdom in 2015, Hong Kong ranked top in the "Safety and Security Indicator" among 142 countries and regions for three consecutive years. Besides, Hong Kong ranked the sixth among 140 countries and regions in the "Reliability of Police Services Indicator" of the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 published by the World Economic Forum. Hong Kong was also rated the seventh in the "Order and Security Indicator" among the 102 countries and regions in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for 2014-2015.
     "I wish to extend my gratitude to our Force members for their efforts over the past year and members of the public for their full support and collaboration, which enable us to have a good law and order environment," Mr Lo said.
     Based on the crime situation in 2015, it is anticipated that the Force will continue to face the threats of technology or cross-boundary crimes.
     "Apart from strengthening our own capabilities, we will continue to foster cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and step up publicity to heighten the public awareness to maintain our low crime rate and ensure that Hong Kong remains to be a safe and stable city," he said.
     Also attending the press conference were the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Mr Wong Chi-hung, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management), Mr Chau Kwok-leung.

Ends/Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:49


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