Cross-boundary cooperation keeping crime low

Updated: 2017-02-08 07:19

(HK Edition)

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Cross-boundary cooperation keeping crime low

It has long been known that Hong Kong's reputation as one of the safest cities in the world is indebted not only to the efficiency of the local police force but also to the crucial help from its mainland counterparts in cracking cross-boundary crimes. The recent busts of some syndicates targeting affluent neighborhoods in the New Territories and the return of fugitives to the SAR are further testament to this undeniable fact.

When summing up last year's crime situation in the city recently, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung announced that the city's overall crime rate was at its lowest since 1978. But he also revealed that the number of residential burglaries netting more than HK$500,000 had surged by 70 percent last year.

Many of these heists are understood to involve perpetrators coming from across the boundary and targeting detached houses in areas relatively close to the boundary. It is then easier for them to escape. In the past, the only thing the Hong Kong police could do was to beef up patrols as a deterrent. But due to the vast expanse of land in the New Territories, the impact of such efforts was minimal.

That is where the mainland authorities have come to our aid. Through constant exchange of intelligence on serious crimes, police forces from the two places have been able to identify the sources of these cross-boundary crimes. As a result, some suspects were apprehended on the mainland after fleeing the SAR, like those related to a high-profile break-in and kidnapping in Clear Water Bay in December, while some were caught red-handed in Hong Kong, such as the infamous "Wei Gang" from Guangxi who were arrested while burglarizing a residence in the city last week.

Cross-boundary cooperation is not restricted to combating current crimes. Even some of those who have been wanted by the Hong Kong police for many years and who thought they could escape from the law by taking refuge on the mainland have been handed over to the SAR's police to face justice. Over the past week, for instance, two fugitives were returned to Hong Kong police - one involved in an acid attack on a prosecutor in 2009 and the other in the gruesome "wardrobe corpse" case in Tsuen Wan in 2013. All these were done in spite of the fact that there is no fugitive repatriation program between Hong Kong and the mainland, which means the latter has no legal obligation to do so.

The SAR's record low crime rate is not easy to come by, and the two police forces must perpetuate and even increase their cooperation in a continuous bid to make Hong Kong a safe place to live in.

(HK Edition 02/08/2017 page8)