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'We are committed to providing a fast and effective
response to all emergencies and major incidents.'

Operations

     As partners in the fight against crime, both the community and the Police can be justly proud of what has been accomplished in 2001. Hong Kong continued to see improvements in the general law and order situation. The Force's objectives in 2001 were to maintain the pressure on violent crime, tackle the rising trend of psychotropic drug abuse and juvenile crime and take strict enforcement action against triads and organised crime. The Force had considerable success in fulfilling these objectives.

     In 2001, there were 73,008 reported crimes and an overall crime rate of 1,085 per 100,000 population. In the same period, the crime detection rate remained stable at 44 per cent. Both figures compare most favourably with other cities around the world. The 8.5 per cent drop in reported violent crime is a historical milestone not seen since the early 1970s. Significant decreases were recorded in most categories of violent crime.

     Looking ahead, the Force remains committed to maintaining Hong Kong's reputation as one of the safest and most stable societies in the world and delivering the very best Police service to the community. To achieve these goals, both covert and overt operations will continue to be mounted against those who commit psychotropic drugs offences, triads and the syndicated vice trade. Similarly, proactive measures will continue against unscrupulous debt collecting activities and illegal soccer gambling.

 

Commercial Crime

     Successful Police enforcement against Loco London Gold Fraud in 2000 appeared to have a deterrent effect on these crimes in 2001, with a reduction in the number of such complaints. Regarding pyramid scheme-related frauds, Police applied proactive and co-ordinated efforts across Hong Kong throughout the year.

     Voluntary petitions for bankruptcy increased drastically in 2001. In the wake of this, the Financial Services Bureau convened a roundtable discussion in September to address the core issues with representatives from banks and other organisations.

     In 2001, following the sharp increase in technology crimes of the previous two years, there was a substantial decrease of some 36 per cent. This decrease resulted mainly from lower levels of hacking activities. However, offences involving the use of sophisticated computer skills for monetary gain, such as on-line business fraud and criminal damage by way of denial of service both increased in numbers.

     The demand for computer forensics examinations and digital evidence recovery in support of investigations into conventional criminal cases continued to increase in 2001. Over 400 computers, with a total data volume of 4,766 GB, were subjected to examination during the year. The Inter-departmental Working Group on Computer Related Crime, led by the Security Bureau, made 57 recommendations to strengthen enforcement against computer crimes. The Force is the lead action party in the implementation of these recommendations.

     All of the counterfeit payment cards seized by the Police in 2001 were credit cards. The majority of the seizures made resulted from proactive Police actions. These prevented substantial financial losses to the credit card industry and also led to the neutralisation of three overseas syndicates from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. There was a 26 per cent drop in the number of counterfeit banknotes found in 2001. However, the seizure of counterfeit $10 Hong Kong coins increased significantly. Compared to the volume of genuine currency in circulation in Hong Kong, the scale of the problem does not pose any threat to the integrity of the local currency.

Narcotics

     In 2001, heroin continued to be the predominant drug abused by adults in Hong Kong. While stringent enforcement action against heroin abuse continued, a high priority was also accorded to reversing the rising trend of psychotropic substance abuse. The revamped enforcement strategy adopted by the Police had considerable success in disrupting the trafficking of these substances.

     In early 2001, there was a scarcity of heroin in the territory as a result of stepped-up enforcement on both sides of the boundary. This contributed to the reduction of heroin seizures as compared to 2000. In action against the abuse of psychotropic substances, there were seizures of 2,145 kilograms of herbal cannabis, 184,812 ecstasy-type tablets, 40 kilograms of ketamine, and 40 kilograms of methamphetamine.

     Operations Jubilee, targeting psychotropic drug trafficking, were conducted in March, June and November of 2001 with Guangdong, Macau and HKSAR law enforcement officers running simultaneous operations. A further significant blow was struck against the trafficking of psychotropic substances in June 2001 when Narcotics Bureau detectives seized precursor chemicals capable of producing a substantial amount of methamphetamine.

     Anti-money laundering action against local syndicates remained a priority. The global nature of drug trafficking necessitates close co-operation with overseas law enforcement agencies. Following two major transnational investigations spanning 12 years, the HKSAR, by virtue of global co-operation with the governments of Australia and the United States of America, shared in confiscated drug trafficking proceeds of over $83 million in September 2001.

Organised Crime and Triads

     The Organised Crime and Triad Bureau (OCTB) was heavily committed this year in the investigation of several serious crime cases. The year 2001 saw the neutralisation of four gun gangs that had been active in jewellery shop and bank robbery. A total of eight genuine firearms were seized. Also, through in-depth investigations, 12 more serious crime cases involving firearms committed between 1984 and 2001 were detected.

     Organised crime was kept under firm control in 2001, with triad-related cases accounting for just over three per cent of all of the year's reported crimes. 2001 saw the conclusion of a successful 18-month undercover operation against a triad gang active in Kowloon. As a result, some 90 suspects were arrested. In a further blow to triad activity, the Bureau interdicted the election of the leader of another active triad society that had tried to hold the election on board a gambling ship anchored in Hong Kong waters. Arrests of 100 people followed.

     Determined efforts continued against debt collecting activities. In the year 2001, a total of 10 loan-sharking syndicates were neutralised with the arrest of 40 people. These efforts led to improvements in the overall situation of debt collection-related crime reports.

     Intelligence-based operations conducted by OCTB in 2001 neutralised five smuggling syndicates specialising in the theft of jeeps and high performance vehicles. Some 30 stolen vehicles, valued over $10million, were recovered and 17 syndicate members were arrested.

     Continuous and effective efforts to combat human smuggling activities have countered any perception that Hong Kong might be a major transit point for human cargoes. To enhance its enforcement effectiveness, the Force (OCTB), as the lead department, together with the Immigration Department and Customs and Excise Department, established the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Under the co-ordination of the JIT, vigilance and rigorous enforcement actions resulted in the neutralisation of several syndicates.

     The Police continue to make full use of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance in the fight against organised crimes and triads. In 2001, the courts ordered the confiscation of $5.2 million of crime proceeds and a further $1.044 billion is under restraint pending court orders that await the completion of the criminal trials.

'We continue to crack down on triad activities.'

     The OCTB co-ordinated simultaneous tripartite anti-triad operations involving the Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau police forces, each in their respective jurisdictions. In the operation during July 2001, 438 people were arrested in Hong Kong for various offences.

     To enhance effective cooperation in the investigation of cross-boundary crime involving the use of firearms, the Cross-Boundary Crimes Liaison Group was formed by the Force and the Public Security Department, Guangdong in September 2001. In addition to joint efforts to mount specific, proactive intelligence-based operations, a solid partnership was also established between the two forces.

Criminal Intelligence

     The Force places great emphasis on intelligence-led policing. The Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CIB) conducts strategic intelligence analysis through which the Force can more effectively identify triad and organised crime syndicates.

     To meet the challenges ahead, plans are now in hand to upgrade the current Criminal Intelligence Computer System to a multi-media facility that will incorporate analytical tools to assist investigators. Officers assigned to undercover operations undergo a new training programme. The CIB is also reviewing the process by which intelligence information is captured.

Crime Prevention

     Public education in crime prevention strategies remains a cornerstone of the Force's crime prevention efforts. The Crime Prevention Bureau promotes the principles of self-protection through the provision of free, target-specific security advice. In doing so, the Bureau has developed partnerships with various professional bodies. The Bureau has also become involved in Hong Kong's urban renewal programme.

Liaison

     The Liaison Bureau acts as a co-ordination centre for all police-related inquiries from other police organisations and local consulate officials. The Liaison Division is responsible for liaison with Mainland police authorities. Five liaison officers from the China National Central Bureau are attached to Hong Kong. Since 1990, 207 criminal fugitives, 167 stolen vehicles and 116 containers have been returned to Hong Kong from the Mainland.

     The Interpol Division represents the Force in the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO), better known as Interpol, as a sub-bureau of the China National Central Bureau. Interpol aims at ensuring and promoting the widest possible mutual assistance among police authorities in the prevention and suppression of crime. A Hong Kong police officer is seconded to the ICPO General Secretariat in Lyons, France, to work in one of its specialised groups.

Forensic Support

     In 2001, the Identification Bureau (IB) continued to contribute a quality forensic science support service to the Force and other law enforcement agencies. Great emphasis is placed on the commitment of Scenes of Crime officers who, through efficient co-ordination, managed to attend 89 per cent of crime scenes within four to five minutes of being called out. Furthermore, IB's Advanced Technology Section uses cutting edge techniques in the laboratory setting. Significantly, this laboratory work linked 469 suspects to crimes.

     Computerised searches of recovered prints and the utilisation of the Computer Assisted Fingerprint Identification System have also revolutionised the speed and accuracy of identification. During the year, the system enabled speedy identification, linking over 600 people to unsolved crimes. Following the Force strategic objective of using new technology to enhance operational efficiency, Crime Wing introduced the use of DNA profiling to enhance the investigative capabilities of frontline crime investigation officers. The application of the DNA legislation, which covers serious arrestable offences only, commenced on July 1, 2001.

     The Force is indebted to the Forensic Pathology Service of the Department of Health and the Forensic Science Division of the Government Laboratory for their assistance in solving many crimes. Pathologists attended 185 crime scenes during the year, carrying out crime-related post-mortems and clinical examinations. In 2001, staff of the Forensic Science Division examined 20,171 cases and attended 783 crime scenes.

Police Tactical Unit

     The primary role of the Police Tactical Unit (PTU) is to provide a readily available reserve of specially trained manpower that can be quickly deployed to deal with an internal security situation. At any given time, there are seven PTU Companies. PTU's ability to deal with large crowds played a vital role in the smooth running of a number of major international events held in Hong Kong during 2001. PTU officers were also involved in a number of government-wide exercises designed to test the response to simulated terrorist threats, major incidents and disasters.

     In pursuit of continuous improvement, PTU maintains close liaison with overseas counterparts to exchange experience, develop new policing techniques, and identify advanced equipment. During 2001, training staff of PTU visited Singapore, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Japan. Locally, PTU received a number of overseas visitors. In the year ahead, PTU Headquarters will train eight PTU Companies.

Bomb Disposal

     The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Bureau is responsible for all bomb disposal work in the HKSAR. 2001 proved to be an extraordinary year for the EOD Bureau with 496 successful operations. In addition, after September 11 there were many hoax anthrax cases. The Bureau remains ready to deal with any such threat, in addition to the 'normal' criminal-typedevices and explosions that occurred such as during bank robberies. Throughout the year, the EOD Bureau dealt professionally with almost continuous pressure. The successful handling of all cases once again highlighted the fact that the EOD Bureau is regarded as one of the finest such units in the world.

Counter Terrorism

     Following a series of smaller-scale counter terrorist exercises, a large-scale exercise was held at Hong Kong International Airport in September 2001. The exercise involved over 1,000 participants, including the Special Duties Unit, and a number of government and non-government organisations. Through this exercise, further areas for improvements were identified and applied to the way the Force dealt with terrorist incidents.

Illegal Immigration

     The Force is responsible for policing the Hong Kong side of the land and sea boundaries with the Mainland to prevent illegal immigration. Such traffic has declined steadily since 1993, but recorded a slight increase in the year under review. As a result of effective Police operations and intelligence gathering, a total of 7,918 illegal immigrants, 3.8 per cent more than that in 2000, were caught. Close liaison and exchange of intelligence on illegal immigration activities with the Guangdong Border Defence Bureau continued to prove effective in combating illegal immigration.

'We will use new technology, knowledge and equipment
to provide effective operational support to frontline duties.'

Operational Support

     The Field Division is responsible for co-ordinating policy matters relating to firearms, equipment, uniforms and operational procedures. A number of initiatives and pilot schemes were introduced or implemented Force-wide with a view to enhancing the operational efficiency and safety of frontline duties. A full review of police uniforms led to a newly designed functional working dress with improved materials that meet occupational and safety requirements. Consultation amongst all Force members is now underway. Improvements in the standard of other items of accoutrement will also be introduced including patrol shoes, police caps, duty belts and pouches for extendable batons.

     A three-month pilot scheme to equip beat patrol officers with mobile radio phones to enhance communications was launched in Tsuen Wan, Mong Kok and Wan Chai Districts in early July 2001 and was well received by the trial formations. In order to provide a prompt response to the public, a pilot scheme for panda cars was introduced in the New Territories North Region in April 2001.

     The primary focus of the General Division is to provide effective operational support to frontline duties. The major emphasis during the year was the complete re-engineering of all orders and procedures relating to persons detained in custody, with emphasis on ensuring that all persons who have dealings with the Police are aware of both their absolute civil and conditional rights under all circumstances.

Transport

     Due to operational commitments, the Force fleet remained at a static level during the year. In line with cost cutting measures, the Force strove towards greater standardisation of vehicles, fixtures and equipment while continuously upgrading them to meet new challenges. The first of the newly upgraded Regional Mobile Command Units were introduced. The units arelarger and incorporate many improvements to enhance the communications and control capabilities of commanders in the field. As part of the ongoing transport occupational safety and health programme, during the year, new large motorcycles with anti-lock braking system were delivered. These motorcycles represent new strides forward in safety for traffic motorcyclists on expressways.

Traffic

     Maintaining a smooth traffic flow and reducing traffic accidents remains a challenging mission for the Traffic Police in Hong Kong. During the year, a monthly increase of 639 vehicles was noted with mainly private cars registered for use on roads, bringing the total to 589,809. Hong Kong continues to have one of the highest vehicle densities anywhere in the world, reaching 309 per kilometer in 2001.

     Traffic accidents in 2001 showed a marginal increase, while fatalities were the second lowest figure over the past 42 years. In comparison with similar cities worldwide, Hong Kong has performed very well in reducing fatal traffic accidents. Nevertheless, stringent enforcement action continues to be taken for offences that cause or are likely to cause traffic accidents. The enactment of several new pieces of road safety legislation in the year also helped achieve this objective.

     In conjunction with the Transport Department, the Force rolled out the Automated Non-stopper Traffic Enforcement Computer System (ANTECS) during the year. To strengthen drink driving regulations, all officers attached to District Traffic Teams, in addition to all traffic officers, are trained to conduct breathalyzer tests on suspected drivers. To cope with the demand, a further 250 alcohol screening devices were brought into use during the year, bringing the total to 580.

     All traffic summonses and fixed penalty prosecutions are processed by the Central Traffic Prosecutions Bureau. The year 2001 saw a decrease in overall traffic offences, down by 12 per cent on the figure for 2000. 2001 was also a busy and challenging year for the Traffic Management Bureau, which focused its efforts on high priority infrastructures and traffic improvement schemes.

Licensing

     The Firearms and Ammunition (Amendment) Ordinance 2000, which became fully operational in November 2001, significantly enhanced the standard of firearms instruction and management of shooting ranges. The Police Licensing Office continues to control legitimate activities involving arms and ammunition through the administration of a licensing system. In addition to about 3,000 licences, the Office also issued about 1,500 authorisations and approvals to safeguard the appropriateness of agents, the standard of firearms instruction and the management of shooting ranges.

     To enhance the level of integrity of workers in the security and guarding services industry, the Office rejected new applications and revoked existing permits if the applicant holders were of doubtful character. At present, there are about 190,000 valid security personnel permits. In 2001, the Office revoked about 1,400 permits.

     The Police together with other concerned departments launched a number of new initiatives to facilitate legitimate massage establishments. Fire and public safety in karaoke premises has attracted strong public concern especially after a fire incident in a karaoke bar resulting in a number of deaths. As a result, an inter-departmental working group was set up to co-ordinate efforts to better control karaoke establishments. The group concluded that the most effective way was to introduce a statutory licensing system. A Karaoke Establishment Bill has been introduced to the Legislative Council for debate.

Public Relations

     The Police Public Relations Branch is responsible for explaining the work of the Police Force to the public, and building up good relations, with the aim of enlisting public support in the fight against crime. Police Community Relations Officers in districts have developed close ties with their local communities to disseminate information on Police policies and priorities. During the year, 33 Secondary School Liaison Officer posts were created to implement the Secondary School Liaison Officers Programme to establish and maintain close liaison with school management, school social workers, parents and non-governmental organisations in preventing juveniles from falling prey to crime.

     The long-established Junior Police Call (JPC) scheme continued to organise various activities for young people to help them build up positive values and stay away from crime and, in turn, to assist the Police in fighting crime. JPC membership totalled around 160,000 at the end of 2001.

     Two weekly television programmes, Police Magazine and Police Report, have been successful in appealing to the public for information on crime cases and raising public awareness of prevalent crime trends. The Good Citizen Award Scheme and the Good Citizen of the Year Award Scheme, jointly administered by the Force and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, commended exemplary and civic-minded citizens who helped the Police combat crime. In 2001, the Force received useful information from calls to its telephone hotlines and also from its Crime Information Forms, which led to positive results and arrests.

     For the first time, the full text of the Hong Kong Police Review was uploaded onto the Force home page for easy access by members of the public. Its first electronic edition in CD-ROM format was well received. Moreover, the Internet version of OffBeat, the Force's full-colour fortnightly newspaper, was revamped during the year to make downloading easier and faster.

     Officers seconded from the Information Services Department (ISD) provided round-the-clock services in disseminating information on crime and Police action to the media. During the year, they handled 277,880 media inquiries, organised 242 press conferences and briefings, attended 335 scenes of incidents to assist media coverage, and issued 3,512 press releases.

     The Fight Crime Publicity Campaign, launched with the help of the ISD and other government departments and the Fight Crime Committee, adopted the themes of 'a tripartite alliance of parents, schools and Police to prevent juvenile crime' and 'prevention of computer crime involving youngsters'.

     During the year, the Force launched the Police Recruitment and Publicity Campaign aiming at enhancing Police image and recruiting persons of the right calibre to further improve its services to the community.

Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force

     The Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force (HKAPF) consists of 4,619 men and women from all walks of life. In the past two years, since the implementation of major reforms aimed at restructuring the HKAPF, full integration with the regular Force has proceeded. To supplement the revised roles of the HKAPF, training has been enhanced to fully focus on their new duties. This training has been co-ordinated by the newly formed Auxiliary Support Bureau that was created in 2001 as a 'one-stop-shop' to serve both regulars and auxiliaries in administrative, management and training matters.

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