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Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 23:50
HK crime rate hits historic low
By Chen Zimo
Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 23:50 By Chen Zimo

Hong Kong enjoyed its lowest levels of crime for 45 years in 2018, as overall crimes continued to decrease for 12 consecutive years, according the annual report of the Hong Kong Police Force on Tuesday.

Unfolding Hong Kong’s crime situation last year, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said a total of 54,225 crimes were reported in 2018, 3.2 percent lower than that of the previous year. This is the lowest figure since 1974.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said a total of 54,225 crimes were reported in 2018, 3.2 percent lower than that of the previous year. This is the lowest figure since 1974

The overall crime rate stood at 728 cases per 100,000 people, which also fell 4 percent compared with 2017.

There were fewer cases of robbery, burglaries, theft, rapes, serious drug offenses, arson, criminal damage and triad-related crimes.

There were 147 robberies, 16 less than the previous year – the lowest number since 1969.

READ MORE: Safe-city reputation upheld as HK crime figures hit record low

But in contrast to this favorable situation, there was a significant increase in deception crimes – these rose 18.1 percent to 8,372 cases.

It is a notable increase as the number of these cases had declined for two years – from 9,353 in 2015 to 7,091 in 2017. This followed a series of key measures including establishment of the Anti-Deception Coordination Centre in July 2017.

Increasingly advanced digital technology and frequency of cross-boundary crimes are the main factors pushing up the figure, Lo said. The police have had more difficulties in obtaining evidence, he added.

“But investigations were not the most efficient solution to deceptions crime – education and publicity are,” explained Lo.

He said 43 percent of 323 victims who suffered losses in the 615 phone scams originally came from the Chinese mainland; police explained that these people were often socially isolated in the city.

To help these people – some who don’t use Facebook or Instagram much, Hong Kong police registered an account on Weibo - one of the most popular social media platforms on the mainland. This is so they can to publish useful information online.

ALSO READ: Mainland, HKSAR renew notification mechanism on criminal cases

Opening its Weibo account “Hong Kong Police” on Tuesday afternoon, police attracted over 30,000 followers within five hours.

Lo said the police intend to educate more people in the community about anti-deception awareness.

Since the West Kowloon Railway Station started to operate last September, Hong Kong police have recorded 208 cases at the station – most of which involved lost property and disputes. A total of 30 cases occurred in the Mainland Port Area of the station.

Meanwhile, a total of 48 homicide cases were reported last year, double that of 2017. But 19 of these cases were attributed to the fatal traffic accident in Tai Po, New Territories, in which a double-decker bus flipped on its side last February, killing 19 people and injuring 65. The 30-year-old driver is now facing a charge of dangerous driving causing deaths.

Despite a 9.9 percent drop in serious drug offenses, seizures of drugs rose alarmingly; the amount of methamphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy-type drugs seized increased by 149.3 percent, 174.5 percent and 260 percent, respectively.

mollychen@chiandailyhk.com

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