Hong Kong's overall law and order situation improved in 2014, with a 7.1% drop in crime, taking it to the lowest level since 1997, Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang says.
Delivering his year-end review today, Mr Tsang said a total of 67,740 crime cases were recorded. Almost all crimes were on a downward trend, he said, including homicide (-56.5%), rape (-46.7%), robbery (-38.2%), burglary (-24.4%), indecent assault (-23.8%), youth crimes (-19.9%), triad-related crimes (-19.3%), serious drug offences (-18.2%) and arson (10.3%).
Deception cases were on the rise, however. There were 8,861 such cases in 2014, more than 1,300 more than in 2013. The increase was due mainly to the rise of social media scams, online fraud and telephone fraud.
There were 1,239 social media scam cases – nearly four times as many as in 2013. They triggered a loss of $70 million. The swindlers use instant messaging applications, to deceive users into believing they were communicating with friends to gain access to Personal Identification Number information.
There were 885 blackmail cases, 152 more than in 2013. Of these, about 640 involved “naked chats”, in which victims were lured into removing their clothes in front of online cameras. The images were then used to extort money – a total of $2.3 million.
To combat technology crime, Mr Tsang noted the Cyber Security & Technology Crime Bureau was set up on January 1 with 180 officers to enhance the force’s capability in investigation, digital forensics and training.
He also noted methamphetamine drug abuse cases were up in 2014, making this the second-highest abused drug, behind ketamine. Police have vowed to step up the fight against drug abuse.