Skip to main content

SMS sender scheme expanded

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today that the SMS Sender Registration Scheme is now open for application by all sectors to further help the public verify the identities of SMS senders, with a view to combatting SMS fraud.   Apart from further opening up the scheme, the OFCA said it welcomes public and private organisations from various industries with a practical need to communicate with customers or clients via SMS to join the scheme.   Under the scheme, only registered senders are able to send SMS messages using their registered SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. All other SMS messages with sender IDs containing “#” but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by the telecommunications networks.   As such, the public can easily identify whether an SMS message is received from a registered sender by the prefix “#” in the SMS sender ID.   The OFCA reminds citizens to stay highly vigilant when receiving SMS messages from unknown sender

Human trafficking report rebutted

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2022 that puts Hong Kong on the Tier-2 Watch List is unfair and not substantiated by facts.   In a statement, it explained that trafficking in persons (TIP) is never a prevalent problem in Hong Kong and there has never been any sign that the city is being actively used by syndicates as a destination or transit point for TIP.   The Hong Kong SAR Government has all along been making proactive and multi-pronged efforts in the fight against TIP and injected an enormous amount of resources to combat TIP and enhance the protection and well-being of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong, the statement said.   A high-level steering committee was established in 2018 and it promulgated an action plan to tackle TIP and enhance protection of FDHs. The action plan contained measures that included victim identification and protection as well as partnership with different stakeholders and all such measures were firmly in place by end-2019.   The Hong Kong SAR Government also pointed out that it has sustained all anti-TIP efforts despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, coverage of the initial screening of TIP victims has been fully extended since the end of 2019 to cover all cases involving people vulnerable to TIP risks, including illegal immigrants, sex workers, illegal workers, FDHs and imported workers that came to the attention of Police, the Immigration Department, the Customs & Excise Department and the Labour Department.   In 2021, the number of initial screenings conducted by such departments was around 7,700, a three-fold increase over the number conducted in 2016, with only one victim identified. In 2020, three victims were identified from the 6,900 initial screenings conducted.     The very small number and percentage of victims identified thus far once again reinforces the observation that TIP is never a prevalent problem in Hong Kong, the statement said, noting that it is baseless and unfair to cast doubt on the quality of the screenings in the city and discredit its screening procedure merely because of the low number of victims so identified.   The victim identified in 2021 was initially screened by the FDH Special Investigation Section of the Immigration Department, which was established in 2019 to step up scrutiny of FDHs visa applications to facilitate identification of potential TIP victims and cases of exploited FDHs.   This speaks for itself of the effectiveness of the new strategy in strengthening victim identification, the statement indicated.   On the claim about the lack of a composite trafficking legislation in the city, the Hong Kong SAR Government stated that the current legislative framework comprising over 50 legal provisions against various TIP conducts provides a comprehensive package of safeguards comparable to composite TIP laws found in other jurisdictions and has served Hong Kong well.   Every jurisdiction should have its latitude to determine the best legal framework to tackle the issue and there is simply no one-size-fits-all solution. There is no indication to suggest the effectiveness of Hong Kong’s anti-TIP efforts is undermined without a composite trafficking legislation, the statement outlined.   Regarding enforcement efforts, Police conducted 60 anti-vice operations in 2021, a 46% increase when compared with the preceding year. In the same year, 278 people were arrested for the offence of keeping a vice establishment or prostitution-related crimes.   In 2021, a total of 26 FDH employers were prosecuted for aiding and abetting their FDHs in breaching their conditions of stay and an additional 20 FDH employers were prosecuted for offences such as common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, indecent assault and criminal intimidation.   The Hong Kong SAR Government emphasised that the Labour Department continues rigorous enforcement actions against employment agencies (EAs) in breach of the law. In 2021, the department successfully prosecuted five EAs and revoked or refused to issue the licences of seven agencies.   It revealed that the four categories of offences of endangering national security, which the National Security Law provides, are clearly defined with the elements of offences, penalties, mitigation factors and consequences clearly prescribed. Any law enforcement actions taken by law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law, for the acts of the persons concerned.   Acts and activities endangering national security are distinctly different from normal interactions, and law-abiding people will not unwittingly violate the law, it added.   The US Department of State's comments on the National Security Law in the US Trafficking in Persons Report 2022 clearly do not reflect the facts, the Hong Kong SAR Government stressed.   While noting that Hong Kong’s all-out efforts in the fight against TIP have not received due and fair recognition, the Hong Kong SAR Government made it clear that the city, as a responsible member of the international community, will continue its firm commitment to combatting TIP and contributing to the global efforts of this important cause.
http://dlvr.it/SVBNVD

Popular posts from this blog

Legal officer changes proposed

The Government has proposed to amend the law to allow legal officers of the Department of Justice to be appointed as a senior counsel.   At a media session after attending a Legislative Council meeting today, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng explained the rationale behind the Government's proposal.   She said: “Why is it that my colleagues in the Department of Justice - who by their qualifications are solicitors but are actually arguing very well and very efficiently with great eloquence and efficacy in the Court of Final Appeal - are not being recognised when they are actually even better than their counterparts? That has always been something that sometimes troubles me.   “And for that reason, I have always been thinking about how we are going to overcome that problem.   “Now, what really triggers my determination to take this further forward is when one of our Deputy Directors of Public Prosecutions, Vinci Lam, took silk on May 29.   “That really showed that the form

Skewed remarks about NSL rejected

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproved of and firmly rejected the wanton slanders and smears concerning the implementation of “one country, two systems” and the National Security Law (NSL) in Hong Kong by certain US and UK politicians.   In a statement issued tonight, the Hong Kong SAR Government noted that such slanders and smears were recently made through a statement by certain members of the US Senate on the 26th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the third anniversary of the implementation of the NSL, and by the House of Commons of the UK Parliament through a debate on the aforesaid third anniversary.   It said it strongly disapproves of and firmly rejects the unfounded remarks and slanders by the US and UK politicians regarding the Hong Kong SAR where “one country, two systems” is successfully implemented.   It also strongly urges the politicians to immediately stop acting against the international law and

CE to meet Congo president

Chief Executive John Lee will meet Democratic Republic of Congo President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo at Government House tomorrow, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government announced today.   The Congo president is in the People’s Republic of China for a state visit and will arrive in Hong Kong for a two-day trip. http://dlvr.it/Spnmcs