Taxi and Traffic moves down a road in the central district of Hong Kong, China on Jan 20, 2017. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong police on Tuesday launched a city-wide publicity drive to encourage taxi drivers to report information related to terrorism, violence and similar crimes.
If their report leads to a successful investigation and conviction, they may be eligible for a reward.
The police awarded a bonus for the first informant back in March. The informant, who is a professional driver, realized that his passengers were plotting a violent attack. His report eventually led to the conviction of two suspects.
Another three drivers are also in line for a reward, and the police will consider a pay-out after the cases are concluded.
The Inter-departmental Counter Terrorism Unit pointed out that there are more than 18,000 taxis and about 46,000 active taxi drivers, who in the course of their work around Hong Kong come into contact with a wide range of people and activities
The “Spot and Report” Campaign, launched by the Inter-departmental Counter Terrorism Unit (ICTUppeals via), includes making a radio, and displaying posters at gas stations and entrances to tunnels, with a view to building a safe community in collaboration with the public.
ICTU pointed out that there are more than 18,000 taxis and about 46,000 active taxi drivers, who in the course of their work around Hong Kong come into contact with a wide range of people and activities.
When the taxi drivers come across terrorism and violence-related information, they should consider making a report after ensuring their own safety, officers said.
Through the Transport Department, the ICTU has reached out to over 40 taxi associations and companies. While introducing to them the campaign, the unit also promoted counter-terrorism and anti-crime information.
It will also disseminate important information to all taxi drivers in Hong Kong through sector representatives so as to safeguard the community and ensure safety at all times.
Since the launch of “Counter-terrorism Reporting Hotline 63-666-999”, ICTU has received more than 20,000 reports, from more than 5,000 informants. Some of them have assisted in the arrest of offenders.
In a recent press conference, Sonia Cheng, chairman of the Taxi Dealers and Owners Association of Hong Kong, said that drivers can cover more than 500 kilometers in the city every day. By promptly reporting suspicious individuals or events, these drivers can play a crucial role in preventing crimes before they occur, Cheng explained.
Leung Wai-ki, senior superintendent at the ICTU, said that in recent months, the police had been contacted by many enthusiastic taxi drivers who reported crime information, successfully helping the police to stop two gang fights and arrest seven suspects and a drug trafficker.
Leung acknowledged that while the risk of terrorist attacks in Hong Kong remains moderate, criminals with extreme violent intentions still exist in the city. Relying on residents to detect suspicion can help prevent violent incidents most effectively, he added.
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