Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 16:
Public Order
Fight Crime Committee
Police Force
Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC)
Customs and Excise
Narcotics Division
Independent Commission Against Corruption
Government Laboratory
Immigration Department
Fire Services
Correctional Services
Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance
Civil Aid Service
Government Flying Service
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Table of Contents Constitution and Administration The Legal System The Economy Financial and Monetary Affairs Commerce and Industry Employment Education Health Food Safety, Environmental Hygiene, Agriculture and Fisheries Social Welfare Housing Land, Public Works and Utilities Transport The Environment Travel and Tourism Public Order Communications, the Media and Information Technology Religion and Custom Recreation, Sport and the Arts Population and Immigration History Appendices PRINT
Narcotics Division

The Narcotics Division (ND) of the Security Bureau is tasked with coordinating policies and ways to fight drug abuse, money laundering and terrorism financing.

Overall Strategy and Coordination

The Government adopts a five-pronged approach to fighting drug abuse. The strategy involves legislation and law enforcement, education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, research, and international cooperation.

The Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN) advises the Government on the formulation of anti-drug strategies. It is a non-statutory body composed of professionals in the medical, youth service, educational and anti-drug fields. Headed by a chairman, it has 16 unofficial members and two official members. The officials are the Commissioner for Narcotics and a representative from the Department of Health. Under an arrangement between Singapore and Hong Kong, the Director of Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau also sits on the committee.


Regular reviews are conducted to see whether amendments or revision to the existing ordinances are needed to deal with changes in the illicit drugs world.

Treatment and Rehabilitation

Hong Kong provides a variety of treatment and rehabilitation services to help drug abusers from different backgrounds kick the habit.

The major drug treatment and rehabilitation services include a compulsory drug treatment programme run by the Correctional Services Department, a voluntary methadone out-patient treatment programme provided by the Department of Health, and voluntary residential programmes run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Medical and psychiatric treatment for psychotropic substance abusers is provided by five substance abuse clinics under the Hospital Authority. In addition, five Counselling Centres for Psychotropic Substance Abusers operated by NGOs are subvented by the Social Welfare Department to provide community-based treatment services to psychotropic substance abusers.

Under the Drug Dependent Persons Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres (Licensing) Ordinance, centres offering in-house voluntary treatment to four or more people need to be licensed by the Social Welfare Department to make sure that the centres meet present-day safety and management requirements. By year-end, 28 Certificates of Exemption were issued to centres that were operating before the ordinance came into effect, and 11 centres that were already operating with a valid licence.

Following a recommendation in the Third Three-Year Plan on Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Services in Hong Kong (2003-05), the ND commissioned the School of Continuing Education of Baptist University in Hong Kong to provide the first-ever structured professional certificate course for anti-drug social workers and peer counsellors. The course ran from February to July 2006 with 68 participants being given the certificate on completion of the course. A pilot service information system was also launched in July to gather data for drawing up standards for local drug treatment services to follow. This is also part of the recommendations made in the 2003-05 plan.

The Fourth Three-Year Plan on Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Services in Hong Kong (2006-08) was introduced in March 2006. Its key recommendations include promoting reintegration of ex-drug abusers into the community and strengthening cooperation between medical practitioners and NGOs to address the medical needs of drug abusers and to extend the scope for early intervention.

Preventive Education and Publicity

In 2006, the ND provided 585 anti-drug talks to 79 800 students attending Primary 4, 5, and 6 schools, secondary level schools and students at the English Schools Foundation and international schools. This was the first year that anti-drug talks were given to Primary 4 students. Workshops and seminars were also organised for teachers, social workers and parents. In 2006, four workshops were held for teachers and school social workers. Since parents play a vital role in drugs prevention education, the ND, for the first time, organised two seminars for parents in April and September 2006 in the Sha Tin Town Hall and Yuen Long Theatre respectively. About 830 parents attended. In collaboration with Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Co Ltd, two radio programmes were broadcast during the period between December 2006 and March 2007 to give parents a better understanding of the drug problem so that they may communicate more effectively with their children.

A television docu-drama series entitled Anti-Drug Files jointly produced with RTHK was broadcast in July to increase public awareness of drug issues, including those occurring on the other side of the boundary. Eighteen NGO projects were funded under the Sponsorship Scheme on Anti-Cross-boundary Drug Abuse.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Drug InfoCentre continued to serve as a platform for promoting anti-drug messages. During the year, about 28 200 visitors, comprising 15 900 students, 3 200 members of youth groups, community organisations, and rehabilitation centres, 300 principals, teachers and school social workers, 1 000 group and 7 800 walk-in visitors, made use of the centre.

Two new TV and radio Announcements in the Public Interest (APIs) were launched during the Christmas and New Year holidays to remind young people of the detrimental effects of abusing ketamine and ecstasy, the two drugs commonly used by young people. Posters were put up in public places and advertisements were carried on buses to drive home the message that ketamine and ecstasy damage the brain. The warning was also conveyed through the Short Messaging System (SMS) to young mobile phone users. Anti-drug TV APIs were broadcast on Kowloon-Canton Railway trains, buses and the ND website www.nd.gov.hk to reach a wider population.

Drug Abuse, Statistics and Trends

The statistics compiled on drug abuse trends are based on the Central Registry of Drug Abuse. The registry collates information on drug abusers through a wide network of reporting agencies, including law enforcement departments, treatment and welfare agencies, tertiary institutions, hospitals and clinics.

In 2006, a total of 13 204 drug abusers were recorded in the registry. Of these, 26 per cent were new cases, 19 per cent were aged under 21, and 81 per cent were males. Heroin remained the most commonly abused drug in Hong Kong, with 62 per cent of drug abusers in the registry being heroin abusers. The number of psychotropic substance abusers has increased noticeably over the years and reached 56 per cent in 2006. Psychotropic substances commonly abused included ketamine (23 per cent), triazolam/midazolam/zopiclone (17 per cent) and ecstasy (12 per cent). About 32 per cent of drug abusers were reported to have abused more than one drug. Some 11 per cent of drug abusers were reported to have taken drugs on the Mainland (mostly in Shenzhen); 38 per cent of drug abusers have taken drugs at home or in their friends' homes only, another 32 per cent at home, friends' homes and other localities (such as recreation area/public garden/public toilet and disco/karaoke), and the remaining 30 per cent at other localities. About 64 cent of young people who abused drugs did it at discos and karaokes.


Findings from drug-related research studies provide useful reference material to facilitate the Government's formulation of anti-drug strategies and programmes. Three studies carried forward from previous years — on the harmful effects of cough mixture abuse; the drug abuse situation among ethnic minorities; and developing a supplementary drug abuse monitoring system — were completed during the year.

The cough mixture study confirmed that there was a definite association between cough mixture abuse and folate deficiency. Folate deficiency would in turn cause severe damage to one's brain and nervous system and may even lead to severe permanent disabilities. Pregnant mothers who indulged in cough mixture abuse would cause severe brain damage to the foetus.

Heroin was the most common drug abused by ethnic minorities, followed by cannabis and cough syrup. The abusers encountered different problems such as difficulty in handling relationship with family members and in job seeking. Language training was the most desired service provided to drug abusers to distract them from their problems, followed by outpatient service, community integration and employment services.

The supplementary system drew together drug-related statistics that were compiled currently and kept by different departments and agencies in Hong Kong. With the system, policy-makers could more readily identify problems and formulate corresponding programmes and measures to tackle them.

One ongoing study on meta-analysis of acupuncture therapy in treatment of heroin dependence was carried over from the previous year. A study on parents' participation in anti-drug work was launched recently.

International Action and Regional Cooperation

The Government continued to participate actively in international forums against drug abuse, drug trafficking and money laundering. Apart from fulfilling its obligations under the three major United Nations (UN) conventions concerning narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, it also maintains close links with the UN, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), and the World Customs Organisation, to ensure that Hong Kong's anti-drug and anti-money laundering work remains in step with current international standards and requirements. The Government keeps in touch with various jurisdictions to share Hong Kong's experience with them and to foster closer working ties. The Police Force and Customs and Excise Department have also established cooperative arrangements with their Mainland and overseas counterparts on intelligence exchange, joint operations and experience-sharing.

In March, representatives from the Narcotics Division attended the 49th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs held in Vienna, as members of the Chinese delegation.

To promote better communication and cooperation among Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao in tackling drug abuse and trafficking, tripartite activities in the form of conference and thematic workshops were organised. In 2006-07 Hong Kong drew up an exchange programme and formed a forum at which the three parties discussed and shared their experiences. Guangdong, Macao and Hong Kong took turns to host a five-day meeting on the exchange programme between December 2006 and January 2007. Participants met and shared experience with anti-drug workers from government departments and treatment centres, enhancing their understanding of the daily operations and underlying philosophies of the departments and centres concerned. The sharing session-cum-discussion forum was scheduled for the summer of 2007 in Hong Kong.

The Beat Drugs Fund

To promote community efforts in tackling the drug abuse problem, the Government established a Beat Drugs Fund in 1996 with a capital outlay of $350 million. In 2006, a total of $9.8 million were allocated to 18 projects. These included a programme for teaching parents to get the anti-drug messages across to their children through story-telling. Another project was funded to assist psychotropic substance abusers of South Asian origin to seek treatment.

Volunteer Scheme

The Anti-drug Volunteer Group comprised 106 members of the public and 91 company representatives in 2006. They participated in 20 anti-drug community and publicity activities, including district carnivals, visits to treatment and rehabilitation centres, exhibitions and seminars. During the year, they helped promote the anti-drug message during a jamboree organised by the Boy Scouts Association of Hong Kong. The event was attended by 4 000 local and overseas scouts. The group also organised a football competition in December 2006 to promote healthy living style and the anti-drug message.

Action Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism

As an international financial centre, it is important for Hong Kong to maintain an effective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime. The Government adopts a five-pronged approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing. It includes legislation, law enforcement, regulation by the financial regulators, publicity and education, and international cooperation.

To fulfil its international obligations under the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, Hong Kong enacted the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance in 1989 and the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance in 1994 which provide for the tracing, freezing, confiscation and recovery of proceeds from drug trafficking and other serious crimes. To give effect to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 and some of the measures stipulated in the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) Special Recommendations, the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) (Amendment) Ordinance was promulgated in 2004. It provides for, among other things, the power to freeze the non-fund property of terrorists and terrorist organisations. In order to fulfil another FATF Special Recommendation, the Government gazetted an amendment notice in December to amend section 24C(1) and schedule 6 of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance to require remittance agents and money changers to verify customers' identity and to keep records of transactions of $8,000 or more, instead of the previous threshold of $20,000 or above.

Since the enactment of the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance and the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance, assets valued at $435 million have been confiscated and handed to the Government. As at December 31, 2006, assets amounting to $67 million have been ordered to be confiscated and were pending recovery. A further sum of $1.41 billion was put on hold pending confiscation proceedings under the two ordinances.

On education, the ND and the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit co-organised two seminars in January 2006 for estate agents. In September, they organised a series of seminars for banks, insurance, securities, trust and company service providers, money lenders, remittance and money changing companies, precious metals and stones dealers, and estate agents. The ND set up focus groups in four of these sectors to discuss issues related to the implementation of the FATF Recommendations. The ND was also preparing an interactive training kit to assist these sectors in identifying suspicious transactions. International cooperation is vital in combating transnational crimes such as money laundering.

Hong Kong participated actively in FATF and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), an FATF-style regional inter-governmental organisation. The Department of Justice (DoJ) sent a legal expert to take part in the FATF's mutual evaluation of the UK in November/December 2006. In October, a Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) officer participated in a study by the FATF Typologies Project Team on a subject entitled 'Laundering the Proceeds of Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) Carousel Fraud'. Representatives from the Police Force and C&ED also attended the FATF/Eurasian Group joint typologies meeting in Shanghai in November. Officers from the Police and C&ED participated in the APG's annual typologies workshop held in Indonesia in November. Officers from the Police Force and DoJ took part in the APG mutual evaluation of Sri Lanka in March and Mongolia in December. In addition, various government departments continued to facilitate the granting of legal assistance to other jurisdictions in accordance with bilateral agreements. By year-end, Hong Kong had concluded 21 mutual legal assistance agreements and 16 surrender-of-fugitive-offenders agreements.

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