There may be more demonstrations and a rise in quick-cash crimes in Hong Kong amid the worsening economy and increasing grievances among the public, the police chief has warned. 'We expect more people will take to the streets with livelihood issues caused by the financial tsunami,' Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing said. 'In fact, since the end of last year, we have already reminded our frontline officers to be more sensitive and show more concern to protesters to minimise the chance of any confrontation,' he said. Asked about police deployment at large demonstrations expected this year, including the July 1 rally and the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Deputy Police Commissioner Peter Yam Tat-wing said officers felt no pressure over the demonstrations and discussions would be held with organisers. Mr Tang added that the force would try to balance law enforcement and freedom of protest. 'We understand the public's grievances but then we will try to facilitate and co-ordinate their protests as usual,' he said. Of the 78,469 overall crimes last year, 35,230 involved thefts or quick-cash crimes, compared with 36,762 in 2007, a drop of 4.2 per cent. Mr Tang said the force would prioritise tackling such crimes. 'During the 1998 financial turmoil and 2003 Sars [outbreak] when the economy of the city was severely affected, we saw that the crime rate in Hong Kong increased, especially for quick-cash crimes and deception. 'So far, we have not seen such a rising trend, but we will closely monitor the situation and exchange intelligence with our mainland and overseas counterparts,' he said. Mr Tang listed violent crime, triads, quick-cash crime, terrorism, trafficking and abuse of dangerous drugs, offences related to visitors and illegal migrants, road safety, and policing the East Asian Games in Hong Kong as the force's priorities this year. 'Though the East Asian Games' scale is smaller than the Olympics, it is a challenge, as the Games will be held in 23 different venues.'