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Is Hong Kong Police Force ready for Cyber Crime?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 3665 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Before 1997, the Hong Kong was still focus on traditional economy. HKPF focused on the traditional crimes at that time. The technology crimes were rare happened because only banking industry, stock exchange, information technology firms were using a lot of computers but others for information highway were still under development.

After 1997, the situation has been changed. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR or SAR) government planned to develop Hong Kong into a 21st century cyberport. Suddenly, HKPF received a huge challenge – computer crime. How did HKSAR to revise the existing laws to fit on this big issue? HKPF also made some changes for this challenge. Before we investigate these two parts, let us discuss the patterns and trends of computer crime in Hong Kong.

The distribution of computer crime

Computer crime has become more common in Hong Kong in the past ten years. For this section, we focus on the recent developments in computer crimes.

Table 1: Computer Crime Cases in Hong Kong between 1998 to 2009 [1&2]

Title of offence













Unauthorised access to a computer by telecommunication













Access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent













Criminal damage













Obtaining property by deception (online shopping)













Obtaining services by deception (computer-related)













E-related thefts


























Publication of obscene articles


























From above table, we can find two things. First, two kinds of most common computer crimes in 2009 were unauthorized access and computer fraud. On December 2003, DBS Bank had reported a fraudulent website, www.dbshk.net, to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Hong Kong Police Force. For this case, both parties were working to shut down the website [3 & 4]. After that time, many and many overseas fraudulent bank websites had been found. East Asia Credit, Pacific Asian Bank and Paramount Bank are some of the victims. As of Law enforcement, we can base on the existing legislation to catch such computer criminal. Second, the total of computer-related crimes in 2009 is double than 2008. It is a signal that the computer crime is an emerging problem in Hong Kong. Our Law enforcement needs to pay more attention to it and even the Hong Kong community, industries, and citizens.

Development of COMPUTER Legislation

Although Hong Kong government foresaw the arrival of computer crimes, the approach to computer criminality was to treat it not as a new kind of crime. This means dealing computer criminality with existing criminal law.

In 1984, the Legal Department (now the Department of Justice) formed a working group on computer crimes. The working group reviewed the existing law to consider need for changes to prevent the technology crimes and unauthorized accessing of computer system.

The Computer Crime Ordinance (Cap. 23), which was the first and most important legislation to flight computer crime, was enacted on 22 April, 1993. HKSAR government also enacted these laws to combat computer crime. They were Telecommunication Ordinance (Cap. 106), Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) and Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210). After 1993, we have identified two main categories of computer legislation in Hong Kong: These categories included: Traditional Offences; and Computer-related crime or technology crime.

Computer crimes respect no territorial borders. This cross-border nature requires a new perspective to approach the traditional concept of jurisdiction. Base on this reason, the Criminal Jurisdiction Ordinance (Cap. 461) was enacted in December, 1994. The Ordinance is to give the right for the Hong Kong Police to handle the jurisdictional problems associated with international fraud.

Because of the increase in computer crimes cases handled by the Police and the Customs and Excise Department from 21 cases in 1996 to 318 cases in 1999, HKSAR government formed an Inter-departmental Working Group on Computer Related Crime (the Working Group) in March 2000. The representatives came from various Government bureaux and departments. There were two main purposes for the Working Group: First, study the adequacy of Hong Kong legislation in handling with computer and internet crimes. Second, identify areas where changes would be required. A report of its findings was submitted in September 2000 and was released for consultation on 1 December 2000. [5]

Base on this report, some laws were revised and the current Hong Kong Computer-related Crime Laws are summarized below in Table 2.

Table 2: Provisions of Hong Kong’s Computer Crime Laws [6]





Telecommunications Ordinance

S. 27A, Cap. 106

prohibiting unauthorised access to computer by telecommunication

Fine of $20,000

Crimes Ordinance

S. 59, Cap. 200

extending the meaning of property to include any program or data held in a computer or in computer storage medium

Not applicable

Crimes Ordinance

S. 59 and 60, Cap. 200

extending the meaning of criminal damage to property to misuse of a computer program or data

10 years’ imprisonment

Crimes Ordinance

S. 85, Cap. 200

extending the meaning of making false entry in bank book to falsification of the books of account kept at any bank in electronic means

Life imprisonment

Crimes Ordinance

S. 161, Cap. 200

prohibiting access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent

5 years’ imprisonment

Theft Ordinance

S. 11, Cap. 210

extending the meaning of burglary to include unlawfully causing a computer to function other than as it has been established and altering, erasing or adding any computer program or data

14 years’ imprisonment

Theft Ordinance

S. 11, Cap. 210

extending the meaning of false accounting to include destroying, defacing, concealing or falsifying records kept by computer

10 years’ imprisonment

The Hong Kong government also amended other existing legislatives such as Securities (Insider Dealing) Ord. (S.2 Cap. 395), Land Survey Ord. (S.2 Cap. 473), Copyright Ord. (S.4 & 26 Cap. 528), Patents Ord. (S.93 Cap. 514), Electronic Transactions Ord. (Cap. 553) & Protection of Non-Government Certificates of Origin Ord. (S.10 Cap. 324), so that the Hong Kong Law Enforcement can easily combat computer crime. [7 & 8] For digital evidence, the Evidence Ordinance (Cap 8) was introduced on 30th June 1997. The purpose of this Ordinance is deemed to be giving evidence in the presence of the court. [9]

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LAW ENFORCEMENT how to combat computer crime

In the early 1990s, the Hong Kong Police have decided to confront the computer-related crime. The Commercial Crime Bureau’s computer crime division was in charged by Chief Superintendent Victor Lo, who reported many issues such as investigating multi-jurisdictional computer crime; tracing digital evidence to tracking cyber criminals; concerning over the privacy rights of Internet users.

In 1993, because of the change of legislations and an increase in computer crimes, the Hong Kong Police Force established its first-ever Computer Crime Section within the Commercial Crime Bureau, with seventeen officers.

The Hong Kong Police wanted to improve computer crime investigation and prosecution at millennium. The Computer Crime Section was expanded in 2001 to a Technology Crime Division (TCD). And TCD handles most of the investigation on Technology Crime and operate the computer forensics laboratory [10]. Some police investigators in the other police regions, who had training in these matters, can also handle computer related cases. Apart from the police, crimes related to copyright matters are managed under the Customs and Excise Department; and the Office of Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data would supervise any cases related to disclosure of personal data and publicize data of any third parties.


This section would highlight seven recommendations for improving cyberspace governance in Hong Kong.

1. Conflict of Computer Crime and Privacy. Three high-profile cases [11, 12 & 13], one in 1995 and two in 1999, reported there were a conflict between police surveillance and privacy issue. The rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong were secured by a Basic Law [14]. Law enforcement needs to give the computer crime more attention to prevent unnecessary issue.

2. Free Wi-Fi and Coffee Pub. That is the case which was occurred in Bangalore. Hackers sent a hoax bomb mail to the chief minister, BS Yeddyurappa on September 22, 2009. The police found the mail was come from an Internet café in Hoskote. Four students were caught and later found that their email accounts were hacked through Wi-Fi. [15]

Hong Kong has the similar situation – Free Wi-Fi are popping up everywhere — airports, coffee shops, hotels, bookstores, schools and even fast-food restaurants — and the more networks, the more opportunities for hackers. Hong Kong Police could difficulty trace the origins if we have the similar case.

3. Prepaid SIM Issue. There is no legislation for mandating prepaid SIMS registration. Now the frontline law enforcement officers would be difficult to trace those who use their phones for criminal purposes. Hong Kong Government has to be more relentless in the battle against crimes. SIM card registration is a great opportunity in this directory – we should use it effectively. [16, 17, 18 & 19]

4. New technology will have new computer crime. It seems that while Hong Kong is one of the leading wired cities in the world. Its legislation on computer crime corresponds to the existing cyber crimes. As technology is advancing rapidly, it may be cause new crime. The Technology Crime Division would always distribute updated technology information to the Hong Kong law enforcement. The Technology Crime Prevention Unit (TCPU) would be better to run training courses for police as well as seminars. [20]

5. Education is a key role for Computer Crime Prevention. [20] Education is one of a proactive ways of combating crime. If we want a better result, we should need closer coordination. The Technology Crime Prevention Unit (TCPU) aims to prevent computer-related crime in Hong Kong. The TCPU provides three main services to all members of public: First, Technology crime information; Second, Publications and other educational materials. Last, Security awareness talks and presentations. And TCPU would be put more resources for below.

Private e-Banking Security

Against Offshore (Internet) Gambling

Avoid Internet Sexual Assault

Across-border transactions – e-commerce and pornography

Don’t be a silent victim and report to Hong Kong Police

6. Enhance the manpower. [21] For the table 1, there is a rapid increase in computer-related crimes between 2008 and 2009 (from 791 to 1506). Mr. Tang King Shing, Commissioner of Police, will enhance the manpower for the Technology Crime Division (TCD) to combat the technology crimes.

7. The Computer Crime has no physical boundaries. At the moment, different countries in the world have no standard definition of Computer Crime. That’s why the Technology Crime Division need liaise with the US, the UK, and Singapore in order to establish/discuss computer legislation with effective communication. It’s very important. The Police will also continue exchanging work experience with technology crime investigation teams around the world through co-operation mechanisms to co-ordinate operations against the crimes. The Police will continue to strengthen their connection with overseas law enforcement agencies. The first ever international police anti-cybercrime conference was held in Hong Kong on September 15, 2010 and it’s an example. [22]


This is a long way to combat the computer crime. Criminals would not relent, but the Hong Kong Government has to be steps ahead of them. For the Hong Kong Police, we should focus how to combat the crime in an effective way and provide a safe environment to the Hong Kong people.

List of Bibliographies

Director of Bureau : Secretary for Security, Replies to initial written questions raised by Finance Committee Members in examining the Estimates of Expenditure of 2007-08; Reply Serial No. SB156, pp. 318, Article which provides the computer crimes case in 2006

& 2008-09; Reply Serial No. SB184, pp. 278, Article which provides the computer crimes case in 2007

& 2009-10, Reply Serial No. SB082, pp. 162, Article which provides the computer crimes case in 2008

& 2010-11, Reply Serial No. SB060, pp. 114, Article which provides the computer crimes case in 2009

Kam C. Wong, “Computer Crime and Control in Hong Kong”, Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 2 (April 2005), pp. 337-382 , 14 Pac. Rim L. & Pol’y J. 337 (2005), Article which provides the computer crimes case between 1998 to 2009

Kam C. Wong, “The Discovery of Computer Crime in Hong Kong: A Case Study of Crime Creation Process”, Electronic Law Journals, 2005, Article which mentioned the fraudulent DBS website. (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2005_1/wong/)

See Press Release, HKMA, Suspicious Fraudulent Website: www.dbshk.net (Dec. 24, 2003), available at http://www.info.gov.hk/hkma/eng/press/index.htm (last visited Oct. 13, 2010), Article which is the original press releases by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Legislative Council Panel on Security, Computer-related Crimes; LC Paper No. CB(2) 1187/99-00(04) 2 March 2010, Article which outlines the history and development of computer crime laws.

InfoSec – Related Ordinances for the Cyber Crime, Article which shows the existing computer crime laws in Hong Kong. (http://www.infosec.gov.hk/textonly/english/ordinances/ordinances.html)

Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee – Establishment and Work of Inter-departmental Working Group on Computer Related Crime; Chapter III – The meaning of the Term “Computer”, IIAC Paper No. 06/2000, Article which outlines which existing legislatives to be amended.

Mr. Sin Chung-Kai, Legislative Councilor (IT), IT Legislation Presentation : Cyber Laws and IT Professionalism, Article which is a summary and very clear idea for amended legislatives. (http://www.sinchungkai.org.hk/demo/eng/scks_publication/speech/2007/s120407.pps)

Department of Justice: Bilingual Laws Information System from HKSAR, Evidence Ordinance (Cap 8), Article which shows the development of the Evidence Ordinance. (http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis_pdf.nsf/6799165D2FEE3FA94825755E0033E532/CE4256C073D50D37482575EE002E0400?OpenDocument&bt=0 )

Legislative Council Panel on Security, Draft Order under Section 2(4) and (5) of the Criminal Jurisdiction Ordinance (Cap. 461); LC Paper No. CB(2)823/02-03(05) 11 December 2002, Article which shows the history and development of the Technology Crime Division.

The Hong Kong Police and Telecommunications Authority made raid to suspend work for seven ISPs on March 4, 1995, Internet Raids a Danger, SCMP, Mar. 8, 1995, at 18, available at LEXIS, Nexis Library, SCMP, Article which is one of three high-profiles cases between 1995 and 1999. This case indicates the public awareness of computer crime and privacy.

HKSAR v. TSUN SHUI LUN – [1999] HKCFI 77; HCMA000723/1998, (Jan. 15, 1999) , Article which is one of three high-profiles cases between 1995 and 1999. This case raises the issue of computer privacy versus the public’s right to know. (http://898.typepad.com/ecommerce/2003/01/hksar_v_tsun_sh.html)

Apple Daily Ltd v. The Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Civil Appeal No. 357 of 1999 (On Appeal From HCMP No. 7315 of 1999) (2000), Article which is one of three high-profiles cases between 1995 and 1999. This case raises the issue of the government’s power to search and seize computer data of the press.


Sino-British Joint Declaration on December 19, 1984. (An Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Future of Hong Kong signed on 19 December 1984.), Article which shows how a Basic Law covers the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

Rakshita Adyanthaya, Wi-Fi challenge for Bangalore cyber cops, Sep 17, 2010, 9:41 IST, DNA, Article which gives a real crime which was occurred in India. (http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_wi-fi-challenge-for-bangalore-cyber-cops_1439102)

Bangkok Post Tech, Govt urged to mandate prepaid Sim registration – Unknown mobile users pose security threats, 25/08/2010 at 12:00 AM, Article which mentioned the current situation in Singapore and Malaysia after applied the SIM Registration Law. (http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/technews/192779/govt-urged-to-mandate-prepaid-sim-registration )

Legislative Council Panel on Security, Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting; LC Paper No. CB(1)1723/04-05 9 March 2005, Article which shows Hong Kong Legislative Council mentioned this issue and their concern for the SIMS registration.

Asia-Pacific Business Traveller, New policy governs purchase of China prepaid SIM cards, 06/09/2010, Article which mentioned the current SIM situation in China.

(http://asia.businesstraveller.com/asia-pacific/news/new-policy-governs-purchase-of-china-sim-cards )

All Africa.com, Negeria: Issues From Sim Registration, 13 August 2010, Article which shows the real case without the SIM registration. (http://allafrica.com/stories/201008130244.html)

Hong Kong Police Force, About Technology Crime Division (TCD), September 2010, Article which mentions the function and purpose for the Technology Crime Prevention Unit (TCPU). (http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/04_crime_matters/tcd/tcd.html)

Director of Bureau: Secretary for Security, Replies to initial written questions raised by Finance Committee Members in examining the Estimates of Expenditure of 2010-11, Reply Serial No. SB058, pp. 110, Article which mentions Mr Tang King Shing, Commissioner of Police, is planning to enhance the manpower for the Technology Crime Division.

Hurriyet Daily News & Ecomomic Review, Cybercrime is world’s most dangerous criminal threat, September 17 2010, Article which mentioned the reason and the worldwide co-operation mechanisms. (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=cybercrime-is-worlds-most-dangerous-criminal-threat-2010-09-17)

Gabriela Kennedy, Computer Crime – Hong Kong [Hong Kong Steps up efforts to tackle computer crime], Computer Law & Security Report Vol. 17 no. 2 2001 (ISSN 0267) , pp. 110 -113, 3649/01/$20.00 © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved, Article which provided a clear idea about the Hong Kong Computer Crime.

Cyber-Crime-The Challenge in Asia; Edited by Roderic Broadhurst & Peter Grabosky, Hong Kong University Press 2005 (ISBN 962 209 724 3)

– Michael Jackson, “Cyber-crime: The challenge in Asia”, Chapter 13 – Law Enforcement in Cyberspace: The Hong Kong Approach, pp. 243-250, Article which let me more understand about the challenge in Hong Kong.

Oxford v Moss (1978) 68 Cr.App Rep 183, Article which shows student crept in to an office, read the exam paper and then put it back. Not guilty of theft.

Denco Ltd v Johnson [1991] IRLR 63, Article which is famous case for unauthorised access to computer.

Elsie Leung, More measures set to fight cyber crime, September 26, 2003, Article which mentions the Hong Kong government uses which existing laws to confront the dark side of computer. (http://www3.news.gov.hk/isd/ebulletin/en/category/ontherecord/030926/html/030926en11002.htm)


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