Crime rate up 2.3%, drug abuse on sharp rise
By Teddy Ng(HK Edition)
Updated: 2007-07-25 06:57

The overall crime rate in the city for the first half of the year had increased by 2.3 percent to 40,357 cases from the same period last year because of the surge in domestic violence and drug seizure, Director of Crime and Security John Lee Ka-chiu said yesterday.

The number of domestic violence cases has increased to 3,702 cases between January and June from 1,126 in the same period last year, representing an increase of 101.9 percent, he said.

Among the 3,702 cases, 1,253 of them are criminal cases and 2,449 are miscellaneous cases.

Talking about family violence cases, Lee said some of them were caused by minor disputes.

"The families may be arguing on minor issues, such as which schools should their children attend," he said, adding family violence is a complicated social issue.

Lee also said the police had also referred 2,500 such cases to the Social Welfare Department, an increase of 70 percent from the same period last year.

Cases of drug abuse were also on the rise as the police had seized 20 kilograms of heroin in the first six months, up from 15 kilograms last year. The amount of cannabis seized had increased from 34 to 444 kilograms, representing an increase of 12 times.

The number of ecstasy seized had increased by nearly 13 times from 3,062 to 42,759 tablets. Police seized 29 kilograms of cocaine, up from only seven in the first six months in 2006.

Some 50 kilograms of methamphetamine had been seized this year, up from 17 kilograms in the same period last year.

But the ketamine seized by police had decreased to 36 kilograms from 402 in last year, he said.

The number of juveniles aged between 10 and 15 arrested had gone up from 2,313 to 2,508, while the young persons aged between 16 and 20 arrested had also increased from 2,362 to 2,509.

Expressing concern over young drug abusers, Lee said the drugs seized by police were mainly for local consumption despite that many youngsters were going north for drugs.

"The development of the mainland has created demand for drugs. But we believe that the drugs would be distributed inside Hong Kong should we had not seized them," he said.

Lee said the police would step up promotional campaign, teaching youngsters on the adverse impact of taking drugs, and raids against dens of drug abuse.

Other crimes, such as rape, thefts, criminal intimidation and criminal damage had also been increased.

Talking about measures to deal with terrorism, Director of Operations Andy Tsang Wai-hung said the police would share intelligence with other law enforcement agencies to fight against terrorist attacks.

He said drillings were being conducted to prepare for both the trial run next month and the formal competition in the Olympic Equestrian events next year.

Meanwhile, Lee also said police had arrested 31 men and one woman in connection with the attacks on the properties of New World Development.

Lee said 150 staff of the company and other 400 persons had been questioned and the police conducted 800 raids.

"This is one of the biggest investigations in recent times," he added.

(HK Edition 07/25/2007 page6)