Fraud cases drive Hong Kong crime rate increase in 2023

Compared to the preceding years, 2023 witnessed a remarkable decline in the number of traditional crimes, such as robbery, arson, burglary, wounding and serious assault, and triad-related offences.


(From left) Kan Kai-yan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (National Security ); Siu Chak-yee, Commissioner of Police; Chow Yat-ming, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations ); and Chan Joon-sun, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management ) attend a press conference at police headquarters in Wan Chai on Feb 6, 2024. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

February 7, 2024

HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 90,276 crimes in 2023, up 28.9 percent from the previous year, mainly due to an increase in fraud cases, Commissioner of Police Siu Chak-yee said on Tuesday.

Fraud cases saw a 42.6-percent increase compared to 2022, reaching a total of 39,824 cases. Notably, approximately 70 percent of these cases involved online fraud, Siu said at a press conference on the city’s law and order situation in 2023.

Siu also said that the overall detection rate was 31.1 percent or 46.2 percent if excluding fraud.

Compared to the years preceding the social unrest in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic, 2023 witnessed a remarkable decline in the number of traditional crimes, such as robbery, arson, burglary, wounding and serious assault, and triad-related offenses, Siu said, adding that the detection rate for these crimes reached a notably high level.

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The number of robbery cases in 2023 was the second lowest since records began in 1969, with only 97 reported as the detection rate reached a record high of 82.5 percent.

Wounding and serious assault dropped to the second-lowest level over the past 50 years with 3,636 cases, while the detection rate soared to 73 percent, the highest since 1981. Arson cases also hit a record low of 250 since 1984 with the detection rate at a record high of 48.4 percent.

However, the number of thefts, blackmail, rape and youth crime cases increased, Siu said.

Also in 2023, the police arrested a total of 290 people for violating the National Security Law for Hong Kong, and approximately 60 percent of them have faced prosecution.

According to Siu, the Hong Kong Police Force will have three main priorities in 2024: Safeguarding national security, strengthening community liaison for public support, and combating crime, with a focus on fraud prevention.

Hong Kong has made significant progress in combating fraud over the past year, resulting in remarkable outcomes, Siu said.

In 2023, over 9,200 people were arrested for scams and money laundering offenses, an increase of 75 percent compared to 2022. The Hong Kong SAR government launched Scameter, an anti-fraud search engine, which has been utilized for 2.13 million searches, alerting users about 360,000 cases of fraud and cyber risks. The “Anti-Scam Helpline 18222” saw a 37-percent rise in calls, successfully intercepting HK$1.29 billion ($165 million) in fraudulent funds.

READ MORE: HK financial sector doubles down on fighting fraud

However, the increase in fraud is a global phenomenon that poses a complex challenge for countries and regions worldwide, and Hong Kong will intensify its efforts to combat scams this year, Siu said.

The Scameter will be upgraded with three new features: Alerts for suspicious calls, detection of unreliable websites, and providing a report platform for the public.


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