Law and Order Situation Remains Stable
|The overall law
and order situation in the first six months of 2012 remained stable
with a slight increase of 0.4 per cent in the overall crime figure,
according to Director of Crime and Security Lo Wai-chung. Speaking at a
press conference on August 2 to review the crime situation in the
territory between January and June this year, he said that during the
period, a total of 37,584 cases of crime were recorded, compared with
the 37,443 cases in the first half of 2011.
Crime and Security Lo Wai-chung and Director of Operations Hung Hak-wai
at the press conference
A total of 6,454 violent crime cases were recorded in the first half of this year, a slight increase of about 0.3 per cent over the corresponding period last year. The crime cases on the rise included deception (up 13.5 per cent), criminal damage (up 7 per cent), pickpocketing (up 8.2 per cent), and miscellaneous thefts (up 0.6 per cent).
There were 3,260 cases of deception in the first half of 2012, a rise of 389 cases or 13.5 per cent when compared with the same period of 2011. More increases were recorded in telephone deception, email scam and online business fraud.
In the same period under review, there were 1,216 cases of telephone deception, an increase of 411 cases or 51.1 per cent when compared with the same period of 2011. The tactics employed by culprits mainly included "Detained Son" and "Guess Who". To deal with the trend, Police stepped up intelligence-led enforcement operations, resulting in the detection of 10 "Detained Son" related cases, with the arrest of seven mainlanders in the first half of 2012.
Police received 310 reported cases of email scam in the first six months of 2012, among which 169 cases involved commercial level with losses amounting to $64.16 million, a rise of 140 cases when compared with the 29 in the same period of 2011.
"As commercial dealings often involved vast amounts of money, commercial email scams inflicted a considerable amount of pecuniary losses. Nearly 50 per cent of the victims were Hong Kong companies," Mr Lo said.
"To target the upward trend of commercial email scams, Commercial Crime Bureau formed a task force in March 2012 to secure coordination and fight related crimes. By making comprehensive analyses, tracking origins of emails and taking enforcement actions, Police arrested eight people and froze the accounts belonging to the fraudsters with proceeds of crimes amounting to $17 million."
As regards email scam on personal level, the modus operandi varies. It includes the use of conventional telephone deception tricks on the Internet in which fraudsters assumed the victims' names or made fraudulent use of the victims' email accounts to send fictitious emails to their relatives to cheat them out of money. There were 141 cases of email scam on personal level in the first half of 2012, an increase of 70 cases or 98.6 per cent when compared with the 71 in the same period of last year, with victims suffering from losses of several hundred to tens of thousand dollars.
"Police will monitor the latest trend of technology crime and disseminate crime prevention messages to small and medium business enterprises through different channels and cross-sector and multi-agency cooperation. We will also remind the public of the modus operandi of deception cases via 'Police Report' programme and the media," Mr Lo added.
The first half of 2012 also saw a total of 485 online business fraud cases, an increase of 94 over the same period of 2011, with 324 cases being related to online auction or shopping.
Criminal Damage and Miscellaneous Thefts
There were 3,666 reports of criminal damage in the same period, an increase of 239 or seven per cent over the same period of 2011. Over half of the cases were committed out of vandalism or for unknown motives. Among the cases, 101 involved mainly election posters or publicity boards of political parties or councillors. There was no indication of any organised act against any individual political party.
As regards pickpocketing, 831 cases were recorded in the first half of 2012, an increase of 63 or 8.2 per cent when compared with the same period of 2011, with cash and mobile phones being the main targets. There was a marked rise in theft of mobile phones because they were easy targets and could be easily resold. Police had stepped up prevention publicity, enforcement action and patrol at black spots to combat the crime.
Miscellaneous thefts increased by 54 cases to 9,837 cases, a rise of 0.6 per cent when compared with the same period of 2011. Among the cases, more than 70 per cent or 7,359 cases involved inadequate attention to properties, an increase of 558 cases over the same period of 2011. There were a total of 1,140 cases involving theft of money from octopus card, credit card and ATM card, an increase of 60 cases over the same period last year.
Mr Lo noted that crimes such as shop theft (down 10.2 per cent), missing motor vehicles (down 28.3 per cent), burglary (down 4.9 per cent), and robbery (down 23.9 per cent) all recorded a decrease.
The first half of 2012 recorded a total of 2,141 burglary cases, a decrease of 111 or 4.9 per cent when compared with the same period of 2011. Of the cases, 544 were committed on non-domestic premises, accounting for 25 per cent of the overall total. The figure represented a decrease of 282 cases when compared with the same period of 2011. There was however 1,597 cases committed on domestic premises, accounting for 75 per cent of the overall total, and representing an increase of 171 cases over the same period of 2011.
Homicide and Serious Drugs cases
A total of 15 homicide cases were recorded, an increase of 114.3 per cent or eight cases when compared with the same period of 2011. Five of the cases were related to family or domestic violence, one arose from robbery and two were manslaughters while the others mainly arose from disputes. In the only undetected case, Police have already identified the suspect and will spare no efforts to bring the culprit to justice.
In the first half of 2012, 3,407 cases of wounding and serious assault were recorded, an increase of 47 or 1.4 per cent over the same period of 2011.
Serious drug cases totalled 1,061, a rise of two cases or 0.2 per cent when compared with the same period of 2011. Cases involving ice and cocaine were on the rise, but there were decreases in serious cases involving heroin, ketamine and cannabis. Around 70 per cent of the overall serious drug offences involved synthetic drugs, including ice, ketamine, ecstasy and other psychotropic drugs.
In the first half of 2012, seizures of ketamine and cannabis respectively rose by 402 kg (around 2.6 fold increase) and 113 kg (around 14 fold increase). Most of the seizures were made at control points in transit to other countries via Hong Kong.
A total of 3,462 juveniles and youngsters were arrested for crime in the first half of 2012, a drop of 505 persons or 12.7 per cent, compared with the same period last year. Most of them were arrested for shop theft, miscellaneous thefts, wounding and serious assault.
In conclusion, Mr Lo said Police would continue monitoring all crime trends closely and pay particular attention to crimes with cases on the rise.
"Moreover, as young people will spend more time in accessing Internet, looking for entertainment or finding summer job during the summer holiday, they might fall victim to various crimes or might be exploited to engage in criminal activities. In view of this situation, Police have formulated publicity plans and enforcement operations to combat employment fraud, youth involvement in drug related offences and sexual offences. Police had also held crime prevention seminars in schools before the summer vacation and will organise the Junior Police Call Fight Crime Summer Camp 2012 this summer to heighten youngsters' awareness of beating drugs and Internet crimes," he added.
Road Safety Promotion
Speaking at the same press conference, Director of Operations Hung Hak-wai said Police would continue to promote road safety with a three-pronged approach comprising enforcement, education and publicity.
Mr Hung said there were 7,648 traffic accidents in the first six months of 2012, representing an increase of 277 compared with the same period last year. Cases of fatal traffic accident also increased by one to 56. Overall traffic enforcement actions totalled 724,966 in the first half of 2012, representing an increase of 15 per cent, compared with the 631,682 in the same period last year.
A total of 478 persons were arrested for drink driving in the first six months, a slight decrease compared with the 506 in the corresponding period last year. However, arrests arising from drink driving-related traffic accidents in the first six months of this year increased to 117 persons, compared with the 101 in the corresponding period last year.
In view of the substantial increase in drug driving cases in 2010, the Administration introduced legislative amendments and the Road Traffic (Amendment) Ordinance 2011 came into effect on March 15, 2012. The new legislation has created new offences of driving motor vehicles after the use or consumption of specified illicit drugs, commonly known as "zero tolerance" offence; and driving under the influence of drugs.
As of June 30, 2012, 29 drivers have been arrested for various drug driving offences, including 18 arrested after the new law came into operation. Twenty-two of them were believed to have consumed ketamine.
In the first half of 2012, there were 1,147 cycling related accidents, an increase of nine per cent over the same period last year. Fatal cycling accidents decreased by three to five.
"The increase in cycling related accidents in recent years can be attributed to the increase in cycling activities as a means of a transport or a sport. To address concerns about cycling safety, Police have taken stringent enforcement actions against all cycling offences. A total of 6,153 verbal warnings and 5,962 summonses were issued for cycling offences in the first half of 2012, up seven per cent and 70 per cent respectively over the same period in 2011," Mr Hung said.
He pointed out that pedestrian safety, cycling safety, anti-drug driving and anti-drink driving are the themes of the road safety campaigns in 2012-13. Police will continue to adopt a multi-agency approach to enhance road safety with publicity, education and enforcement.
Turning to the issue of illegal immigrants, Mr Hung said the number of Mainland illegal immigrants (MIIs) showed a downward trend in the first six months of 2012, with 685 MIIs arrested, representing a decrease of 111, compared with the same period last year. Fifty-four MIIs were arrested for criminal offences from January to June this year, a decrease of 20 over the same period last year. The main offences committed by MIIs were theft, forgery, and aiding and abetting illegal immigrants.
In addition, 75 female MIIs were arrested for prostitution, a decrease of 36 compared with the same period last year.
In the first six months of this year, 189 Non-ethnic Chinese illegal immigrants (NEC IIs) were arrested, an increase of 74 over the same period last year. Fifteen NEC IIs were arrested for committing crimes, an increase of 13 over the same period last year. The offences committed were relatively minor, namely theft, taking conveyance without authority and immigration offences.
Regarding crimes committed by Mainland visitors (MVs), Mr Hung said that from January to June in 2012, there were 15.47 million MV arrivals, a rise of 2.88 million over the same period last year. Among them, 667 were arrested for committing criminal offences, an increase of 87, compared with the same period last year. The main offences committed were theft, forgery, serious assault and immigration offences such as possession of a forged ID card.
Between January and June this year, 1,562 MVs were arrested for involvement in prostitution, representing a decrease of 192 over the same period last year. A total of 616 illegal Mainland workers were arrested in the past six months, an increase of eight over the same period last year.
Mr Hung said: "Police will continue adopting a three-level approach to tackle the problem of Mainland visitors committing crime, including effective screening at all immigration control points and enhancing local enforcement with other law enforcement agencies."
Turning to the relationship with the media, Mr Hung stressed that Police respect the public's right to information and the media's freedom of reporting. The Force also fully recognises the importance of facilitating media reporting and maintaining effective communication with them and will facilitate media reporting.
The Force has recently completed a review of the press area policy. Under the policy, it is, in principle, not necessary to designate a press area in a public place where other members of the public are allowed free access, unless designation of such area may provide a vantage point for the news media to facilitate their coverage. In such case, reporters are still free to move in and out of that press area.
In places where the public may not be allowed free access, such as the Border Closed Area and the Airport Restricted Area; venues of security operations or ceremonial events; or police cordon set up at a crime scene, a traffic accident or other emergency incident for operational or investigative purposes, Police will consider setting up a designated press area to facilitate media coverage.
If a designated press area is set up outside a police cordon, reporters will expect to have the right to move freely in and out of the press area. If reporters' movements are to be confined within the press area, the Police Commander will explain the reasons for this arrangement to reporters or notify the media through Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB).
When Police consider it is necessary and practicable to set up a press area inside a police cordon to facilitate media coverage, reporters' movement will be restrained and Police might need to inspect their hand-carrying belongings, such as handbags or backpacks. If due to space constraints or overriding operational considerations that open coverage by all media representatives is not possible, pool coverage will be arranged.
"Police have taken the views of the media into full consideration when reviewing the press area policy. We believe the arrangements balance the needs of media reporting without affecting Police operation. The policy was fully implemented in July," Mr Hung said.
As regards dissemination of information of unforeseen incidents, Police have adopted various improvement measures, including increasing PPRB newsroom's manpower and issuing more case briefs. Since implementation of the measures, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases disseminated, reaching an average of 300 cases per day in June 2012.
"We are studying the use of information technology to further improve the procedures for information dissemination and to provide more basic information. In the long run, Police will explore the feasibility of setting up an interactive platform for disseminating information of unforeseen incidents. This study is already underway."
Mr Hung reiterated that Police respect press freedom and the right of media reporting. The Force will continue to maintain a close partnership with the media on the basis of mutual respect and understanding, provide necessary assistance, and strengthen co-operation.
Mr Lo and Mr Hung review the overall crime situation on a weekend radio programme
Mr Lo also speaks of crime prevention at the press conference
|Members of OffBeat Editorial Committee:|
||CSP PPRB (Chairperson)|
|Mrs Peggy CHAU||CIPO PPRB|
||PIO PP PPRB|
|| SP ADM HKI
|Mr Michael LI||TSRO NTS|
| Mr Lincoln
||CIP CRM HQ (2)|
|Editor:||Mark Tam: 2860-6171|
Tony Au Yeung: 2860-6173
|Photographers:||Kay Yuen: 2860-6174
Rex Ip: 2860-6175
Arsenal House, Police Headquarters,
No.1 Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
|Deadline for next edition:||August 20, 2012|
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