Police aware of begging problem

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 12:00am

I refer to the letter headlined, 'Upsetting sight' (South China Morning Post, February 3) about the presence of a woman with a young child begging on a footbridge in Admiralty.

Police are aware of the begging problem, especially those involving two-way permit holders, and have taken appropriate enforcement action. Indeed, the increasing number of mendicants found in the main streets of Hong Kong is a cause for concern. Not only do they cause a nuisance by begging for alms in busy areas, their presence also adversely affects Hong Kong's international image.

A recent survey indicated that many of the mendicants are two-way permit holders. Hence, new procedures to tackle this problem have been adopted by the police following consultation with the Immigration Department. Mendicants holding two-way permits will be arrested and, depending on the circumstances, will be repatriated by the Immigration Department or prosecuted in court.

Police will refer to the relevant authorities for assistance if local residents are found forced to resort to mendicancy, particularly when the welfare of young children is involved.

Your correspondent may wish to know that operations by the Waterfront Division alone have resulted in the arrest of 12 beggars in the past two months. Your readers can rest assured that police action will continue in this direction.

JEAN CHAN for Commissioner of Police