Hong Kong’s Counter-terrorism Reporting Hotline yields over 28,000 reports in two years

187

24th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s dedicated  “Counterterrorism (CT) Reporting Hotline” hotline for reporting suspected terrorism-related activities has received over 28,000 tip-offs since its inception in June 2022. This initiative follows the intense protests of 2019, aiming to enhance vigilance and safety.

The Inter-departmental Counter Terrorism Unit, established in 2018 and comprising six disciplined services, highlighted that approximately 13% of these reports, contributed by over 7,000 informants, were significant enough to be escalated to specialised law enforcement branches. However, the unit has yet to disclose specific details on the number of arrests or convictions resulting from these tips.

Senior Superintendent Peter Leung stressed the critical role of early reporting in the current digital age, where the internet often serves as a breeding ground for radical ideologies and terrorism. “The increasing trend of online radicalisation, driven by seditious material and geopolitical tensions, underscores the importance of public vigilance,” he remarked.

The hotline, part of a broader strategy to engage the community in counterterrorism efforts, has led to successful interventions, including the seizure of smuggled explosives and firearms. The Customs and Excise Department’s intelligence bureau, under the leadership of Superintendent Alice Ho Mei-ling, has played a pivotal role in these operations. Since last September, the bureau has resolved 27 cases involving smuggled firearms, resulting in 19 arrests, thanks to tips from informants.

Superintendent Ho further revealed that most firearms intercepted in Hong Kong originated from countries with looser weapon restrictions, such as the United States and Germany, with Hong Kong often serving merely as a transit hub in these smuggling operations.

Looking ahead, the Counter Terrorism Unit plans to expand its educational and promotional efforts across various industries, including hotels and schools. “Our future work will focus on enhancing counterterrorism awareness across all sectors,” Leung added.

Additionally, the unit has launched the “Safe Community Hub,” an interactive zone with virtual reality setups designed to educate the public on handling hostile scenarios. Since its opening in October last year, the hub has attracted over 3,000 visitors.