HK terror laws may include hacking

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 12:00am

Certain computer hacking crimes may be defined as terrorist acts in the SAR under laws being considered in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The Security Bureau - in a paper to be discussed at a joint Legco meeting on Friday - said that the Government would examine the need to legally define terrorism to reflect current requirements.

Terrorism could, for example be partly defined as 'the threat to use force or violence and action designed to interfere with or disrupt an electronic system'.

Legislators were told that other terrorist-related offences not covered by existing laws included hoax terrorist acts and actions seriously risking the health or safety of the public.

There is no anti-terrorism law with a general application in Hong Kong at present, but many offences typically committed by terrorists such as murder, kidnapping and weapons offences are covered under ordinary laws.

In a separate paper jointly compiled by the Security and Financial Services bureaus, officials propose to create the specific offence of 'terrorist financing' under the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance.

It defines as an offence the providing or collecting of funds to be used to carry out terrorist acts in Hong Kong.

'It is essential that funds suspected of being connected to terrorism be frozen and thereafter confiscated, and that there is machinery to enable this to be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible,' the paper reads.

The proposed offence raises complex law enforcement issues, particularly regarding the freezing and confiscation of funds, because it is a financial offence which is not carried out for financial gain.

Meanwhile, 11 of the SAR's 75 so-called 'anthrax incidents' were still pending classification by the police, the Security Bureau said. Sixty-one of the other cases, of which 46 involved the mail, were caused by 'misunderstandings'. Three cases were classified as 'malicious reports'. None of the 75 cases reported up to November 18 actually involved anthrax.