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Transcript of remarks by S for S after Fight Crime Committee meeting (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Security, Mr Tang Ping-keung, at a media session after the Fight Crime Committee meeting at the Central Government Offices this afternoon (May 15):
Reporter: Firstly, we want to ask if the Government can confirm that there is increased amount of politically sensitive books that have been taken off from public library shelves? Will the Government offer explanation on the standard and reason for taking these books off these public library shelves? Secondly, would the end of the comic series drawn by Zunzi and the removal of books by political figures or on politically sensitive issues in public libraries - how is the Government overreacting in its effort to safeguard national security by affecting freedom of expression?
Secretary for Security: First of all, regarding the selection of books by the LCSD (Leisure and Cultural Services Department), I am sure that they have their own policies. But I am also sure that safeguarding national security is high on the agenda in each of the individual department and bureau. The freedom of speech is safeguarded by the National Security Law and also by the Basic Law. I am sure that we will continue to safeguard those rights. Whoever is going to breach the National Security Law, we will handle the case in accordance with the existing law.
Reporter: Can you give us more details about a Hong Kong resident who holds the US passport being jailed in the Mainland over espionage? Did the Hong Kong Government take any action or receive any report from the Mainland or even the relatives of the convicted? And also can you recap in English to explain the surge in crime cases? And also the number of Mainland visitors (persons arrested for crime) like they surged by six times?  
Secretary for Security: First of all, regarding the subject person, in fact the arrest of the subject person has been reported by the Mainland authorities through our reciprocal notification mechanism back in 2021 when he was being arrested.
     Regarding the increase in the number of crimes, basically there are two major reasons. First of all, there is upsurge of deception cases, which is about 65 per cent higher than that in the same period last year. The second reason is that, for the first three months of last year when COVID was at its highest, there were stringent social distancing measures and there were not many people on the streets. That's the reason why cases like robbery, burglary and theft that normally happen on the streets, the number of these crimes has significantly reduced in the first three months of last year. And some of those crimes in fact have reached the lowest since we have such record. In this year, the social distancing has resumed normal. When we look at the crime figures, discounting the deception cases, the crime situation of the first quarter of this year is more or less the same as what was in 2019, i.e. before the COVID situation. 
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, May 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 21:36
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S for S meets the media after Fight Crime Committee meeting