A drama currently airing on TV has aroused everyone’s interest in the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB), and in this issue of OffBeat, you are given an inside look at the CSTCB, a crown jewel of the Force that is shouldering an increasingly hefty workload while tirelessly keeping up with the ever-changing technological landscape.
The CSTCB came into being when the Force upgraded its original Technology Crime Division in 2015. Now, the 350-strong bureau comprises four subdivisions — the Technology Crime Division, Cyber Security Division, Cyber Intelligence Division as well as Forensics and Training Division.
Chief Superintendent of the CSTCB Law Yuet-wing, who is also the Chairperson of INTERPOL Global Cybercrime Expert Group, said more than 8 300 cybercrimes had been reported to the Police last year, and as much as $2.9 billion was swindled out of members of the public who had fallen victim to these scams. Although such crimes are often cross-boundary and committed in a very discreet manner, Hong Kong’s capabilities to solve technology crime rank among the most advanced in the world.
Nowadays, “online shopping frauds”, “phishing emails”, “romance scams on the Internet”, “scams on fake compensated dating” and “naked chat blackmail” are the most common types of cybercrimes. Meanwhile, since the outbreak of protests against the extradition law amendment bill last year, the CSTCB has undertaken two more important law enforcement missions — to track down criminals who have doxxed and harassed police officers and their families; and sniff out netizens who have broken the law by inciting or even orchestrating violence.
Mr Law said, “Since June last year, more than 3 400 police officers and members of their families have been doxxed. What’s more, they have been suffering from different kinds of harassment, when the criminals used their personal particulars to borrow money or order large amounts of food to be delivered to their homes, among other antics. Although the High Court granted an interim injunction last October to ban doxxing of police officers, some people remain defiant and continue to flout the ban. However, as the CSTCB has stepped up its efforts to get to the bottom of related offences for the sake of protecting colleagues, there has been a marked decline in the number of such doxxing attacks in recent months.”
Woman Police Constable Ah Yu of the CSTCB said even though she has taken courses in information technology before, she needs to update her technological know-how through continuous studies, in order to outsmart cyber criminals in a realm that is developing at lightning speed. She said, “Via social media, a lot of ‘masterminds’ send out ‘commands’ from their cozy rooms, teaching and inciting others to do their dirty work, such as dismantling metal barricades or making bombs, with intent to cause mayhem in society. However, being able to go incognito in cyberspace, such despicable cyber criminals always manage to remain elusive despite their deeds. Therefore, we have to leave no stone unturned, by combing through a labyrinth of comments posted online and reading between the lines, in order to pin down the masterminds and bring them to justice, as well as shutting down certain online groups that have run afoul of the law.”
To rise above the challenges facing law enforcers in the new era, the CSTCB has been working closely with multiple law enforcement agencies around the world in recent years, to jointly crack down on cross-border technology crime. The establishment of the “Cyber Range” at Police Headquarters, a facility equipped with advanced computer systems, has also enabled officers to hone their skills by taking part in simulated cyber combats. Under current practices, officers from each police district would submit electronic devices involved in certain cases to the CSTCB for examination. However, given the long queue for this service, the bureau will install self-help forensics examination equipment in each police district in future, to let frontline officers carry out simple examinations by themselves, in order to facilitate investigations with enhanced efficiency.
Members of OffBeat Editorial Committee:
|Mr Kenneth Kwok||CSP PPRB (Chairperson)|
|Ms Jessica Wong||PIO PP PPRB|
|Mr Raymond Lee||CIP MR PPRB|
|Mr Louis Sin||TSRO HKI|
|Ms Maggie Fok||ATSRO KW|
|Mr Marco Chan||ATSRO NTN|
|Ms Grace Mak||TSRO NTS|
|Ms Leung Pik-yee||ATSRO MAR|
|Ms Jandy Shek||CIP A&S HKPC|
|Ms Ada Wong||SIP HQ (2) CRM|
|Ms Grace Ng||EO CSR A|
|Editor:||Ivy Leung: 2860-6171|
|Reporter:||Dickson Choi: 2860-6172|
|Photographers:||Hugo Lam: 2860-6174
Lam Yu-san: 2860-6175
|Address:||10/F, Arsenal House, Police Headquarters,
No.1 Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
|Deadline for Issue 1166:||August 6, 2020 (before 6pm)
|Deadline for Issue 1167:||August 20, 2020 (before 6pm)
Procedures for submission of articles can be viewed through the hexagon of OffBeat on Police Intranet (POINT).
Published by the Police Public Relations Branch, Hong Kong Police Force