Government response to public procession in Sheung Shui
The spokesperson said the Government always respects the public's right to express their views and demands in a peaceful, rational and orderly manner, and that this reflects the precious freedom of expression in Hong Kong and lawful quality of the Hong Kong people. But a minority of protesters used violence to charge and cause damage. It is believed the majority of Hong Kong people would also disapprove of such unlawful acts.
The Government has also been concerned about the nuisance caused by parallel trading activities to the daily lives of local residents. The relevant law enforcement agencies and organisations have implemented a series of measures to improve the orderly operation at railway stations and boundary control points, as well as to mitigate the nuisance caused to the daily lives of local residents and any impact on environmental hygiene. The Government has also adjusted enforcement strategies in response to the mode of operation of parallel traders.
The Immigration Department (ImmD) established a "watch list of suspected parallel traders" in September 2012 to assist frontline officers in identifying suspected parallel traders for examination among the large number of passengers. If the purpose of visiting Hong Kong is in doubt, the ImmD will refuse the entry of such visitors and repatriate them immediately. As at the end of June 2019, the ImmD has placed information regarding over 25 300 persons who were suspected to be carrying out parallel trading activities on the watch list. In the past 18 months, the ImmD has refused entry to about 5 000 Mainland visitors due to suspected involvement in parallel trading activities.
The ImmD and the Police also conduct joint law enforcement operations from time to time, and arrest any visitors suspected of contravening conditions of stay by being involved in parallel trading activities. In the past 18 months, the ImmD and the Police have conducted about 140 joint operations against visitors contravening conditions of stay by being involved in parallel trading activities. During those operations, a total of 126 Mainland visitors were arrested for suspected contravention of their conditions of stay by being involved in parallel trading activities, and one local employer was arrested for suspected employment of illegal workers.
The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and Shenzhen authorities have always maintained close contacts. In addition to conducting regular joint operations, the C&ED and Shenzhen Customs also mount dedicated operations to combat parallel trading activities as necessary, with a view to stepping up efforts in enforcement against parallel trading activities. Between January 2018 and May 2019, Shenzhen Customs reported that they had detected a total of about 9 000 smuggling cases by parallel traders at the boundary control points, involving about 9 000 parallel traders and goods with a total value of over $75 million. During the same period, the C&ED detected a total of about 5 500 cases of illegal export of powdered formula, involving the arrest of about 5 500 persons and the seizure of over 26 000 kilograms of powdered formula.
In addition to enhancing immigration control and co-operation in law enforcement between the customs authorities of both sides, the Government has also been committed to co-ordinating various law enforcement agencies in implementing a series of measures on environmental hygiene, tidiness and street management to improve the situation. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has stepped up street cleaning services and enforcement actions at parallel trading black spots in North District and Yuen Long District. From January 2018 to May 2019, the FEHD conducted about 400 raids targeting parallel trading black spots in North District and issued about 8 100 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) under the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance to offenders. As for Yuen Long District, the FEHD conducted about 170 raids targeting parallel trading black spots in the district and issued about 660 FPNs under the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance to offenders during the same period.
The Police have also from time to time patrolled parallel trading black spots and enhanced law enforcement against obstruction caused by parallel traders placing goods in public places and road obstruction caused by illegal parking and loading or unloading of goods relating to parallel trading activities. Between January 2018 and May 2019, the Police issued 18 summonses for obstruction caused by parallel traders placing goods in public places under the Summary Offences Ordinance and about 18 500 FPNs for road obstruction caused by illegal parking and loading or unloading of goods related to parallel trading activities under the Fixed Penalty (Traffic Contraventions) Ordinance and the Fixed Penalty (Criminal Proceedings) Ordinance in New Territories North Region, including such districts as Sheung Shui, Yuen Long, Tuen Mun and Lok Ma Chau.
The relevant Government departments will continue to proactively implement appropriate measures to mitigate the impact on the community brought by parallel trading activities.
Ends/Saturday, July 13, 2019
Issued at HKT 23:45
Issued at HKT 23:45