Police report 37pc rise in narcotics offences, while domestic violence doubles Crimes involving drugs and domestic violence surged in the first half of the year as the overall crime rate edged up by just over 2 per cent, which a police chief described as 'stable'. Police handled 40,357 crimes in the six months, including 7,364 violent crimes, compared with 39,433, of which 7,091 were violent cases, in the same period last year. 'I can say that the crime rate in Hong Kong is stable,' director of Crime and Security John Lee Ka-chiu said. But the number of drug seizures rose steeply and serious narcotics offences increased by 37.5 per cent. Some 3,702 cases of domestic violence were reported in the first half, more than double the previous number. More than 440kg of cannabis was found, up from 34kg, and more than 42,000 tablets of Ecstasy were discovered, compared with 3,062 in the first six months last year. Mr Lee attributed the rise to increased supply and demand and a rising detection rate, which was a result of the police's better intelligence network with the mainland and overseas countries. He dismissed suggestions that the city had become a drug trafficking centre but noted a rising trend in the number of young abusers. 'We arrested 204 youngsters in the first half of last year, compared to 403 youngsters this year. Most of them were involved in minor crimes, though.' Paul Lo Po-sing, team leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church's North District youth outreach team, said more teenagers were becoming drug dealers. 'We know this from our own experience. Frequent police operations might also have led to the rise in arrests,' he said. Mr Lo warned that young drug abusers were not restricting themselves to discos or karaoke bars - common targets of police raids. 'They take drugs at home, schools, public housing estates and even parks,' he said. 'Police officers might have to think about expanding their scope of operations instead of just targeting entertainment premises.' Commenting on the rise in family violence, Mr Lee called it 'a very complex issue'. 'It can begin with minor disputes like finances and the living environment. Some argue about which school their children should attend, or the amount of homework.' He stressed that police had taken comprehensive measures to deal with the crime, like setting up a central database, better training for officers in handling abuse cases, and more liaison with social workers. 'We also make sure that the victims know what kind of assistance and counselling they can receive.' Sam Kwong Fu-sam, the senior manager for social services with Christian Action, said police officers had become more aware of domestic violence issues: they tended to make records of every case they came across rather than telling troubled couples to solve their own problems. 'This may explain why the number of reported cases almost doubled compared with last year. But I am worried whether social workers can handle so many cases - because every case reported to the police will be referred to social workers,' he said. The rise in reported cases might also improve public awareness of the danger of domestic violence. 'Many people used to think it was better for married couples to fix their problems themselves ... But now they know domestic violence can be fatal, so they will not refrain from going to police.'