April 14, 2023
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s secretary for security has stressed the need to stay vigilant to “attempts of external forces and their agents in Hong Kong” to bring hatred against the central authorities and the special administrative region government through media, culture and arts, and other “soft resistance” means.
The city’s law enforcement agencies will continue to take investigatory and law enforcement actions against acts and activities suspected of endangering national security, Chris Tang Ping-keung said in his opening remarks at a special meeting of the Legislative Council Finance Committee on Wednesday.
The law enforcers will step up collection and analysis of intelligence, in particular online information and counter-spying intelligence, in order to prevent, suppress and impose punishment for acts and activities endangering national security, he added.
The HKSAR government will continue to take forward the legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law in order to fulfil the constitutional responsibility.
Chris Tang, Secretary for Security, HKSAR
“As regards safeguarding national security, since the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL), order has been restored in Hong Kong. Development of economy and people’s livelihood are also back on track.”
The HKSAR government will continue to take forward the legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law in order to fulfil the constitutional responsibility, and will commence public consultation at a suitable juncture, he told the meeting.
On the draft estimates for the new financial year, allocation under the Security Bureau’s responsibility will be around HK$57.3 billion, which is around HK$0.4 billion less than the approved estimates last year, he said, adding that the allocation accounts for around 7.5 percent of the total government expenditure.
Hong Kong recorded an 8.7-percent increase in overall crimes in 2022 compared with the previous year, according to Tang.
“The increase was mainly attributed to an increase in deception cases, which had risen for around 40 percent and accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total crimes,” he said.
He also reported substantial decreases in violent and a number of major crimes, among which the number of robbery and burglary cases were the lowest since records began.
Cases of wounding and serious assault, snatching and pickpocketing etc. had also dropped to a record low since the city’s return to the motherland, said the security chief.
Regarding counter-terrorism, “apart from strengthening intelligence gathering and enhancing departments’ preparedness, the Inter-departmental Counter Terrorism Unit will continue to promote counter-terrorism education among the public, and encourage them to provide intelligence on terrorism or violence-related information”, he said.
To facilitate flow of talents, the HKSAR government has all along adopted an open immigration policy that attracts talents and facilitates business while maintaining effective immigration control, he said. “In June last year, we introduced a pilot scheme which enables visitors invited by authorized host organizations to participate in specified short-term activities in Hong Kong without the need to apply for an employment visa.”
With effect from February this year, the mainland authorities have introduced the exit endorsement for talents travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area on a pilot basis to facilitate six categories of mainland talents to travel to Hong Kong for exchanges and visits.
To promote youth development, the Security Bureau is committed to increasing the number of active members of youth uniformed groups of disciplined services departments, he said, adding that the number of active members of youth uniformed groups of the six disciplined services increased by over 25 percent to more than 5,700 last year.