The overall law and order situation in Hong Kong remained stable in 2012 with a slight drop in the overall crime, Commissioner Tsang Wai-hung said on January 29 at a press conference to review the crime situation in Hong Kong last year.
|Mr Tsang, Deputy Commissioner (Operations) Tang Kam-moon and Deputy Commissioner (Management) Ma Wai-luk take many questions from the floor
During the period, a total of 75,930 cases of crime were recorded, representing a slight drop compared with 75,936 cases in 2011. The detection rate was 43.6 per cent, a 1.1 per cent over 2011.
A total of 12,821 cases of violent crime were recorded last year, a drop of about two per cent compared with the preceding year.
Noting that most categories of crimes recorded a fall, Mr Tsang said the crimes that rose included deception (up 12.9 per cent), rape (up 33 per cent) and indecent assault (up 5.7 per cent), serious drug offences (up 4.7 per cent), and criminal damage (up 3.7 per cent).
A total of 6,923 cases of deception were recorded in 2012, an increase of 789 cases or 12.9 per cent over the previous year. Increase was mainly seen in e-mail scam (up 415 cases), online business fraud (up 217 cases) and telephone deception (up 398 cases).
Out of the 806 e-mail scam cases in 2012, 430 cases (up 275 cases) were corporate e-mail scam with losses amounting to nearly $180 million, representing a 2.7fold increase compared with 2011. Small or medium sized enterprises were the main target. In personal email scam, there were 376 cases (up 140 cases) in 2012 and the victims' losses ranged from several hundred dollars to more than $300,000.
There were 1,105 online business fraud cases in 2012 with 823 cases related to online auction or shopping. The Commercial Crime Bureau formed a working group in October 2012 to tackle the problem with a holistic approach through enhanced intelligence gathering, crime prevention, enforcement operations and co-operation with relevant stakeholders.
In telephone deception, 2012 saw an increase of 398 cases or 20.8 per cent to 2,314 cases. The tactics used by culprits mainly included "Detained Son" and "Guess Who".
"Since a majority of the calls were fishing calls from deception syndicates on the Mainland, we have enhanced intelligence co-operation with our Mainland counterpart," Mr Tsang said.
"We have also maintained close liaison with remittance agencies, requesting them to pay attention to, and assist in stopping, any suspicious remittances to the Mainland or overseas. We will launch a campaign this year to recruit the elderly to assist in prevention publicity on the various deceptions targeting elders," he added.
Rape and indecent assault
Turning to rape and indecent assault, Mr Tsang said a total of 121 rape cases were recorded in 2012, an increase of 30 cases or 33 per cent compared with the previous year. Of all the reported cases, 108 were detected. A total of 114 cases involved culprits known to the victims and 18 were committed by friends acquainted on the Internet. Indecent assault cases totalled 1,495 cases in 2012, a rise of 80 cases or 5.7 per cent over 2011.
"Police will continue to strengthen publicity and education in order to protect particularly the youth against sexual crimes," Mr Tsang said.
Serious drug offences totalled 2,141, a rise of 96 cases or 4.7 per cent compared with the preceding year. While cases involving ice and ketamine were on the rise, decreases were recorded in cases involving heroin and cocaine.
As a result of enforcement actions by various departments, including Police and the Customs, at control points, there was an increase in drug seizure in ketamine (up 448 kg or 1.6fold increase), ice (up 34 kg or 87.2 per cent), cannabis (up 9 kg or 19.6 per cent), and cocaine (up 6 kg or 0.8 per cent).
In criminal damage, 2012 recorded a total of 7,318 reports, an increase of 261 cases or 3.7 per cent over the previous year. Over half of the cases were committed out of vandalism or for unknown intentions.
Mr Tsang also pointed out that crimes such as arson (down 32 per cent), missing motor vehicles (down 28 per cent), shop theft (down 7.8 per cent), and burglary (down 3.8 per cent) all recorded a decrease.
Homicide and robbery
A total of 27 homicides were reported in 2012, an increase of 10 compared with 2011. Eleven of the cases were related to family or domestic violence; two were robbery related and two were manslaughter cases while the others were mainly caused by disputes. Twenty-five cases were detected. For the two undetected cases, Police are doing its best to apprehend the culprits.
A total of 616 robbery cases were recorded in 2012, a significant decrease of 115 compared with 2011, which is the lowest since 1969. No robbery with genuine firearms was reported in 2012.
Violent and youth crimes
There were 6,818 cases of wounding and serious assault in 2012, a drop of 86 compared with the preceding year. Among them, 1,145 cases were related to domestic violence, an increase of 37, and over 5,500 cases arose from disputes of various natures.
Speaking of youth crimes, Mr Tsang said 6,522 young people under the age of 21 were arrested for crimes in 2012, a decrease of 1,171 compared with 2011. They mainly committed offences of wounding and serious assault, shop theft and miscellaneous theft.
"Despite the decreasing trend of youth crimes, Police will continue to target juvenile delinquency with various approaches, including prevention and publicity, strengthened enforcement actions, graduated sanction and rehabilitation programme," Mr Tsang added.
Mr Tsang also took the opportunity to introduce the Commissioner's Operational Priorities for 2013, which cover violent crime, triads, syndicated and organised crime, dangerous drugs, quick cash crime, technology crime; public safety and terrorism.
In 2013, Police will continue to ensure a strong Police presence to deter violent crime, especially those involving firearms or explosive devices; target street gangs, particularly those involving young people; and professionally handle and investigate all reports of domestic violence.
Police will also continue its efforts to target triads and cross-boundary and transnational or organised crimes. Proactive measures will be taken to investigate crime proceeds and money laundering.
In combatting dangerous drugs, Police will continue to enhance co-operation with the Mainland, Macao and overseas law enforcement agencies to interdict illicit drug flow into Hong Kong; proactively target drug traffickers, especially those exploiting minors and juveniles; and adopt multi-agency and community-based approaches to promote anti-drug awareness among students and juveniles.
In tackling quick cash crime, the Force will target social media deception, besides pickpocketing, miscellaneous theft, street, telephone and Internet deception.
To tackle technology crime, Police will enhance training and preparedness, as well as co-operation and intelligence exchange with other law enforcement agencies. A multi-agency approach will be adopted to promote public awareness of computer and cyber security as well as the risk of being exploited while using the social media.
For public safety, Police will proactively engage the stakeholders of public order events in a bid to enhance mutual understanding and police the events in a safe and orderly manner.
For road safety, deterring drink and drug driving, speeding and illegal road racing, as well as promoting safe cycling remain the Force's priorities. A sub-section on Major Incidents and Disasters has been added to the Operational Priorities in order to address the need for greater Force preparedness for a quick and effective response to major incidents and disasters.
In addition, the Force will continue to implement anti-terrorism measures in three main aspects, namely prevention, preparedness and response.
Mr Tsang said: "Public support for, and participation in, crime prevention were key factors for maintaining law and order in 2012. I hope the public will continue to support and assist the Force in fulfilling its responsibilities of ensuring Hong Kong remains one of the safest cities in the world."