Crime rate jumps, but HK remains a safe city

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am

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Hong Kong remains one of the safest cities in the world, despite more crimes being recorded between January and March than during the same period a year ago, the security chief said yesterday.


More than 19,200 crimes were recorded in the first quarter - a 4.8 per cent increase - according to figures released by the Fight Crime Committee.


Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said overall crime numbers had only 'shot up a little bit'.


'Although this figure [the number of crimes] saw a slight increase, we can safely say that Hong Kong is still a very secure city,' Mr Lee said. 'Compared with other metropolitan cities, Hong Kong's law and order is in pretty good shape.'


A total of 3,406 cases of violent crime were recorded - 8.4 per cent more than during the same period last year - with 1, 725 cases of either assault or serious assault, compared with 1,640 in the year previous. There were eight murders in the first quarter, against seven the year before.


The number of bank robberies rose to 17, compared with five in the first quarter of last year. Twelve were failed attempts, where robbers fled after the alarm was raised.


Ketamine seizures jumped from 126kg to 376kg, but only 3kg of heroin was seized, against 9kg last year. Criminal intimidation cases rose 26 per cent, from 299 to 378. Cases of car theft and deception both increased by more than 15 per cent, reaching 429 and 1,117 cases respectively. On the positive side, juvenile crime dropped 9 per cent. The number of criminal offenders under the age of 20 fell from 2,399 to 2,179.


A senior inspector and six other people arrested in a major drug trafficking bust were released on bail last night. The off-duty policeman is believed to be an officer in the Narcotics Bureau. The arrests were made in raids on several locations on Thursday night.