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Hong Kong Police Review 2019


[ Foreword ]   [ Memorable Events ]   [ The Hand of Partnership ]   [ Operations ]   [ Regional Commanders' Report ]   [ Personnel and Training ]
[ Management Services ]   [ Finance, Administration and Planning ]   [ Environmental Report ]   [ Organisation ]
[ Appendices ]


Regional Commanders' Report

In 2019, the Regions continued to devote themselves to upholding the rule of law, maintaining law and order, and serving Hong Kong with honour, duty and loyalty. They continued to fight crime through initiatives that often involved engagement with different sectors of the community or multi-agency partnerships. A series of publicity campaigns and educational programmes were also launched with the aim of enhancing public awareness of crime prevention and road safety.

Hong Kong Island Region

The overall crime rate of Hong Kong Island Region in the first half of 2019 dropped by 2.5 per cent when compared with the same period last year. However, widespread violent protests from June onwards reversed this trend. Protesters inflicted serious damage on many buildings, including the Police Headquarters, the Central Government Complex, shops and public facilities, as well as blocking roads, lighting fires. Attacks were launched on passers-by holding different political views, and even on those enforcing the law. This resulted in an upsurge in the overall crime rate of 31.2 per cent for the year over 2018. In the face of these unprecedented challenges, officers proved determined and unwavering in the performance of their duties. After initially building up experience and reinforcing their response capabilities, officers were able to restore law and order through resolute action, which included making mass arrests and prosecuting offenders. In November, Police were further supported by the appointment as Special Constables of a group of officers from other disciplinary services, whose role was to help curb disorder, protect government facilities, and conduct crowd management operations in Central District.

Many people from all walks of life showed their heartfelt support for and appreciation of the work of the Police at this time by sending cards and letters expressing their thanks, as well as donating items for officers’ welfare.

The Central-Wan Chai Bypass was opened to traffic in phases between January and February 2019, delivering a major new piece of transport infrastructure for Hong Kong Island Region. Prior to its commissioning, the new bypass hosted a Walk for Millions event, organised by a charity organisation and attracting over 20,000 participants. The event was held in a safe and orderly manner, successfully demonstrated the seamless partnership between the Police and other crowd and traffic management stakeholders.

The former Central Police Station, Tai Kwun, with the assistance of Central District, held a thematic exhibition ‘Tai Kwun 101’ in May in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Hong Kong Police Force, at which evocative historical police-related items were showcased. The thematic exhibition proved an ideal opportunity for the public to enhance their knowledge of the Force and its vital work.

Western District’s Project SYNERGY, undertaken in collaboration with Hong Kong Rugby Union, was a community care project that engaged ethnic minority students through rugby training and sharing with police officers. The project emphasised positive values and social responsibility, while also disseminating important crime prevention messages.

Western District and Hong Kong Rugby Union co-hosted the friendly match of Project SYNERGY Join Hands to Fight Crime Rugby Training Programme.

Marine Region

The Marine Police are responsible for maintaining law and order along the 191 kilometres of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s sea boundary and within its 1,648 square kilometres of port and coastal waters. Given these responsibilities, Marine Region has been gradually introducing a modern fleet that will enable it to maintain a more credible maritime capability. Its service to the public will be significantly enhanced with the delivery of the new fleet, which incorporates major improvements including advanced command and control technology, as well as new hybrid propulsion systems that are expected to deliver significant fuel savings and lower the long-term recurrent costs of the fleet.

In December, a Multi Mission Interceptor (MMI) capable of speeds in excess of 55 knots entered service. With its excellent maneuverability, this new craft will greatly enhance the Region’s capability to intercept non-compliant vessels and ensure security and safety in Hong Kong waters.

In the morning of January 8, three successive major explosions occurred on a chemical tanker with 25 Vietnamese crew members on board at the South West Anchorage. Officers of Marine South Division and the Small Boat Division responded quickly to the incident, which took place in a highly dynamic environment compounded by rough sea conditions. The prompt and professional response of all units not only led to the successful rescue of 22 survivors from the sea, but also the swift recovery of the bodies of the three missing crewmen.

To celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Police Force, Cheung Chau Police Station held an open day on three consecutive days in March. All experiencing the occasion agreed that the open day was a fun-filled and memorable one, with activities that were effective in showcasing the Force’s commitment, professionalism and interaction with the community.

Marine Region took delivery of the first of its new high speed craft in December.

Kowloon East Region

The year 2019 has been a turbulent one, rocked by violent protests and incessant social unrest. Facing unprecedented challenges, officers of Kowloon East Region continued to do their utmost to curb violence and uphold the rule of law, acting with the highest levels of courage, perseverance and professionalism.

The overall crime situation remained stable for the first half of 2019, with overall crime falling by 7.3 per cent compared with the same period in 2018. The drop was offset by crimes arising from the social unrest that continued throughout the second half and contributed to an overall increase for the year.

Faced by ongoing and prolonged violence and social unrest, the Region was determined to restore social order and the public sense of security. It did this by strengthening its resources for maintaining law and order, taking resolute actions to curb violence, and enhancing the preparedness, readiness and capability of the Police in dealing with all levels of public disorder. The Operations Wing of Kowloon East Region conducted an inter-departmental counter-terrorism exercise, Exercise AIMHIGH at Yau Tong Mass Transit Railway Station, aimed at consolidating the professional capabilities and co-ordination of frontline officers in tackling terrorist incidents.

To uphold the Force’s Strategic Directions 2019-2021 of engaging with the community and to regain public trust, the Region embraced a multiagency approach that saw it engage with community partners across many sectors. One example was Project HAPPY TEENS, which inspires young people to develop a positive mindset and to connect with the community through cultural activities, musical and sports events. The Road Safety Council and Traffic Kowloon East held a Join Hands for Road Safety cum Sau Mau Ping Road Safety Town Open Day, with elderly volunteers appointed as Road Safety Ambassadors under Project Join Hands for Road Safety. Their role is to promote road safety messages and raise the road safety awareness of road users, especially children and the elderly, through various activities. To reconnect with young people and build long-term sustainable relationships with them, Tseung Kwan O District’s Project STAND BY YOU launched a variety of activities to help young people prepare for employment and strengthen their awareness of the importance of being law-abiding citizens.

As the Force’s coordinator in efforts to combat telephone deception, the Region organised proactive engagements with multiple stakeholders through education, intelligence gathering and investigation. These included education campaigns for new community sectors such as overseas and Mainland students to raise awareness of this crime among new arrivals.

The commissioning of the new Kowloon East Regional Headquarters Complex, a purpose-built complex in which nine Police formations will be housed, is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2020. Once in operation, the new complex will enhance the Region’s operational efficiency and enable it to better cope with future policing challenges likely to arise from the development and transformation of Kowloon East. The complex offers enhanced facilities designed to meet the new operational requirements and an efficient and modern working environment for officers.

The Operations Wing of Kowloon East Region carried out an interdepartmental counter-terrorism exercise codenamed AIMHIGH at Yau Tong MTR Station in April.

The Regional Crime Prevention Office of Kowloon East Region hosted crime prevention seminars for students from the Mainland and overseas.

Kowloon West Region

The overall crime rate in Kowloon West Region increased slightly in 2019. Cases of violent crime remained stable, while cases of shop theft, criminal intimidation and indecent assault decreased significantly.

The social unrest during the second half of 2019 had a significant impact on Kowloon West Region. Police officers were injured, property was damaged, and traffic and transport system were disrupted. More than 740 traffic lights were vandalised and the Cross-Harbour Tunnel was closed. Traffic officers and other frontline officers handled the emergency situations in an efficient and flexible manner, enabling traffic flow to be restored quickly.

The Region continued to use community partnerships to help prevent and detect crimes. Project VANGUARD, which strengthens the Force's intelligence and communication networks, was further extended to jewellery businesses, small hotels and guesthouses.

Project SILVER ARROW is creating a timely and effective communication channel between the Police and the banking sector in Yau Tsim District. Its aim is to prevent and detect financial crimes, as well as averting potential financial losses to banks and their clients. Fourteen partnering banks have taken part in the project, and have given positive feedback on their ability to combat crimes through the exchange of crime information. Continuous efforts will be made to enlist support from other financial institutions.

Project TORCH, organised by Mong Kok District, has been running since 2017. Its aim is to enhance young people’s understanding of police work and to pass on Force values to young people who aspire to become police officers. The project has led to the recruitment of five Inspectors of Police and 17 Police Constables into the Force.

Kowloon City District has implemented the Road Safety Protocol on Receiving Tourists to address traffic flow and road safety issues, with full support from working partners. The protocol had a visible impact in 2019, including winning a Silver Prize in the Civil Service Outstanding Service Award Scheme 2019 under the Regulatory Service Team Award.

Another worthy initiative has been Project MAMA, organised by Sham Shui Po District, which is helping ethnic minority women to integrate into local society as well as disseminating crime prevention messages to their families. More than 100 ethnic minority women have participated in this project, through workshops, visits, seminars and interest classes organised for them.

The Road Safety Team of Traffic Kowloon West launched the Crossing the Road Carefully and Travelling in Hong Kong Happily campaign to raise the road safety awareness of tourists. On June 29, the campaign started with a Tourist Road Safety Kick-off Ceremony 2019 at the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station. The campaign was subsequently expanded to the China Ferry Terminal and the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, where the campaign team distributed leaflets and disseminated road safety messages to tourists.

After successfully completing his training, a Project TORCH member (middle) celebrated his graduation at the Passing Out Parade of Police College.

Participants of a special interest class run under Project MAMA.

New Territories South Region

New Territories South Region continued its work towards achieving the Force’s Strategic Directions 2019-2021. In 2019, rocked by prolonged violent demonstrations and social unrest, the Region recorded a 10.6 per cent increase in the number of reported crimes, in line with the territory trend. The Region maintained a detection rate of 42.9 per cent. Nevertheless, reductions were achieved in possession of arms and ammunition (down by 37.6 per cent), dangerous drugs crimes (down by 39.6 per cent) and technology crimes (down by 19.4 per cent).

In 2019, the Region further strengthened its multi-agency collaboration with stakeholders in support of different community sectors. Project iSmart involved collaboration with NGOs and schools to help prevent young people from becoming victims of cyber crime. To encourage their all-round development, some JPC members of Kwai Tsing District were recommended for awards under the JPC Scholarship Scheme. Meanwhile, Sha Tin District enlisted wide community support for Project HALFSKY, which promoted early intervention in crimes against women. The project attracted over 6,000 people to various anti-crime seminars in the year. To improve the security of its rural villages, Lantau District launched Project LANTAU EYES, which encouraged villagers to install CCTVs for the prevention and detection of crimes.

New developments in technology have been employed by the Region in ways that are enhancing its public service capabilities as well as its public engagement. For example, Project SHINE has been developing a mobile application for tracking missing persons with dementia, to be launched in 2020. This is a joint project in collaboration with the Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. In Tsuen Wan District, interactive online tools have been used to disseminate crime prevention messages to secondary students, in the process enhancing their learning experience.

The Region has attached great importance to capacity building with a view to strengthening officers’ operational competence and preparedness for emergencies. The Emergency Unit of New Territories South ran a regular SPEARHEAD training programme on anti-riot skills and station defence tactics for frontline officers, which was useful in enhancing their confidence and expanding their professional knowledge. Airport District organised regular inter-departmental counter-terrorism exercises to enhance aviation security.

Traffic policing was another priority area, since the Region includes several critical pieces of infrastructure such as the Hong Kong International Airport, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, container ports, railway systems, as well as other bridges and tunnels. In this connection, the regional traffic wing developed strategic enforcement and emergency plans to ensure the smooth flow of traffic along all major link roads.

The Operations Wing of New Territories South continued running Project SHINE, which aims at keeping track of elderly people suffering from dementia.

As part of a hijack simulation exercise codenamed ROARTIGER, Airport Security Unit officers entered a cabin to search for hijackers.

New Territories North Region

In 2019, New Territories North Region recorded a decrease of 4.6 per cent in overall crime. The Region recorded significant drops in blackmail (down by 46.9 per cent), criminal intimidation (down by 27.6 per cent), rape (down by 16.7 per cent), indecent assault (down by 12.4 per cent) and other topical crimes such as technology crimes (down by 29 per cent) and pickpocketing (down by 27.1 per cent). All homicides and rape cases in the year were detected.

Nonetheless, the second half of 2019 was characterised by incessant riots and escalating violence. This social unrest hit the Region heavily, resulting in a significant rise in offences against public order (up 35.4 fold), arson (up by 86.1 per cent) and criminal damage (up by 31.4 per cent). Rioters broke 217 traffic signal lights, dismantled large sections of pedestrian railings, and damaged railway facilities on more than 140 occasions. The prolonged blockage of the Tolo Highway and the tragic death of a 70-year-old cleaning worker caused by a thrown brick further disrupted the peace of the community. Despite the formidable challenges posed by the social unrest, the Region’s officers remained fully committed to maintaining law and order. Proactive enforcement actions were successful in foiling attempts to vandalise the railway track, and contributed to the prompt restoration of normal traffic flow.

In one case in its fight against drug trafficking activities, the Region seized a record-breaking amount of 354 kg of cocaine. Elsewhere, the Region adopted a multi-agency approach to improve security measures for vulnerable buildings, enlisting the support of respective District Fight Crime Committee and community stakeholders. With their help, the New Territories North Crime Prevention Office engaged with residents of low-security buildings in initiatives that helped strengthen Police-community partnerships for crime prevention.

A District Traffic Enforcement Team was formed in Tai Po District to address the long-term problem of illegal parking there. The team was welcomed by the local community, and won a Gold Prize in the Civil Service Outstanding Service Award 2019 under the Regulatory Service Team Award. Meanwhile, multi-agency collaborations with community stakeholders initiated by various formations to enhance road safety resulted in a two per cent drop in traffic accidents in 2019.

To celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Force, Border District launched its Fun Frontier Walk 2019 programme. The programme offered guided tours to Ta Kwu Ling Police Station, a Grade III Historic Building, and the Maclntosh Fort, a Grade II Historic Building.

Project North-i, which involved installing CCTV systems in low-security buildings, was launched by the Regional Crime Prevention Office of New Territories North Region with the support of the relevant District Fight Crime Committee.

Border District joined hands with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, rural representatives and animal welfare groups in efforts to rescue and find homes for ill-treated animals.


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