Experts should take care with statistics

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 June, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 June, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined 'Gun offences falling despite latest incidents, says expert' (South China Morning Post, May 23).

Criminologist Dr Roderic Broadhurst said that stringent gun control in the SAR meant there were few genuine firearms in Hong Kong. He did not think there was a 'growing trend in the use of firearms'.

However, it should be noted that there is no evidence any licensed firearms have been involved in the commission of any offences in Hong Kong. Therefore, I do not think it can be proved that stringent gun controls have contributed to a lower crime rate.

There are two types of firearms in Hong Kong. First, there are legally registered guns used by security guards and for sport. Second, there are the illegal firearms, which are not regulated under firearms laws.

I think academics should take care when analysing statistics. We should not be lulled into a sense of false security.