The overall crime situation in Hong Kong in the first of 2016 remained stable with a decrease of 13.2 per cent in the overall crime figure over the same period in 2015, according to the Police Director of Crime and Security, Mr Au Chi-kwong.
Speaking at a press conference today (July 27) to review the crime situation in the territory between January and June this year, Mr Au said a total of 29,542 cases of crime were recorded during the period, representing a decrease of 4,492 cases or 13.2 per cent over the corresponding period of last year.
There were a total of 4,945 violent crime cases recorded in the first of half of this year, a decrease of 6.6 per cent when compared with the same period of last year.
Crimes with the number of cases dropped by 10 per cent included deception, rape, miscellaneous theft and blackmail; crimes recorded rises included homicide and robbery.
There were 15 homicide cases in the first half year of 2016, an increase of four cases over the same period last year. Four of the cases were manslaughter, two involved domestic violence, one was committed by relative, one was robbery and murder, and the other seven cases aroused by different kinds of dispute. Fourteen homicide cases were detected.
There were 140 cases of robbery in the first six months this year, a rise of 22 cases over the same period last year. No genuine firearm was involved in the said period while three cases involved pistol-like objects and two of them were detected.
As regards cases on a downward trend, there were 3,368 deception cases in the first half of 2016, being a decrease of 1,507 cases over the same period last year. Among them, telephone deception and social media deception recorded remarkable drops.
There were 410 telephone deception cases in the first half of this year, a drop of 960 cases compared with the same period of last year. The three major modus operandi, “detained son”, “guess who” and “pretend mainland officials”, recorded drops in the number of case. Although the number of case dropped, the pecuniary loss rose by 1.3 folds to $106.99 million. The rise was mainly attributed to a “pretend mainland officials” case in March that involved a record high loss of $58.8 million.
There were 506 social media deception cases in the first half of 2016, being a decrease of 434 cases over the same period of last year. The drop was mainly due to the sharp decrease of fraudsters using instant messaging applications to cheat for recharging vouchers or game cards.
Rises were observed in “fake compensated dating” and “romance scam” which recorded 302 cases (up 139 cases) and 47 cases (up 28 cases) respectively. Although there were not many “romance scam” cases, the pecuniary loss was significant which amounted to $36.8 million, being a rise of 1.7 folds.
There were 6,343 cases of miscellaneous theft (down 16.6 per cent) and 4,651 cases of shop theft (down 6.2 per cent) in the first half of 2016.
In the first half of 2016, there were 539 blackmail cases, representing a drop of 16.2 per cent when compared with the same period of last year. A total of 389 “naked chat” and 40 ransomware-related blackmail cases were reported.
There were 2,414 cases of wounding and serious assault cases (drop 5.3 per cent) in the first six months of this year; among them 221 cases were triad-related (up 18.2 per cent).
In the first half of 2016, there were 871 serious drug cases (down 8.9 per cent). Concerning the amount of seizure, cocaine and “ice” were reported with an increase. The amount of cocaine seized recorded a significant rise of 1.5 times compared with the same period last year. This was mainly attributed to the cracking down of two large-scale drug trafficking cases in June in which a total of 222 kilogrammes of cocaine with a total market value of $230 million were seized.
Burglary (1,206 cases, drop 6.1 per cent) and indecent assault (485 cases, drop of 3.8 per cent) also recorded drops in the first half of this year.
There were 30 rape cases in the first half of 2016, a decrease of 11 cases over the corresponding period of last year. One of the cases involved stranger while the remaining 29 cases were committed by acquaintances. Twenty-six cases were detected.
Mr Au also talked about some other crimes of interest.
There were 905 triad cases in the first half of 2016 (up 8.5 per cent). The rise was mainly stemmed from the stringent Police enforcement action against triad activities. Triad-related crimes constituted 3.1 per cent of the total number of crime cases and mainly involved wounding and serious assault, unlawful society offences and serious drug offences.
In the first half of this year, there were 728 domestic violence (crime) cases (up 5.5 per cent); 242 domestic violence (miscellaneous) cases (down 17.7 per cent); and 5,499 cases of domestic incidents of minor nature or with no violence (down 3.5 per cent).
The number of youths arrested for criminal offences in the first half of 2016 dropped by 20.3 per cent to 1,810 persons when compared with the same period last year. They were mainly arrested for shop theft, miscellaneous theft, wounding and serious assault, serious drug offences and unlawful society offences.
“The overall crime situation in the first half of 2016 remained stable. As for common crimes of interest such as robbery and burglary, we will continue to spare no effort in preventing and combating them by stepping up patrol and conducting intelligence-led enforcement actions,” said Mr Au.
“Despite a downtrend was observed for the crimes recorded with significant rise in the past few years, for instance, social media deception, telephone deception and ‘naked chat’, we should not lower our guard.
“These types of crime mostly involve cross-boundary and information technology perspective, which pose difficulty to our investigation. Fraudsters do not need to show up and can hide anywhere in the world. They change their modus operandi, pose as different kinds of persons, use various languages and with all sorts of excuses for a single purpose – cheating money. Being deceived, victims’ money would very likely be transferred out of Hong Kong and their life savings would not be recovered. Members of public should therefore stay cautious, in particular, when strangers ask for money. Bank transfer can take place as fast as the blink of an eye and money may never come back,” Mr Au reminded.
“The latest modus operandi and preventive messages of various types of scams as well as cyber security tips are now available on the Police’s ‘Fight Scams Together’ platform. There are altogether 30 video clips relating to 20 odd types of scams. I encourage the public to spend just the length of time of two movies to visit the platform to find out more about the latest modus operandi and to share the information with your family and friends, so as to prevent you and your loved ones becoming a victim of crime.”