Drug situation in Hong Kong in 2019
Major drug trends and anti-drug efforts
Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed concern about the increase in cannabis abuse in 2019, especially among those aged under 21 which was increased by 48% compared with the previous year. Although there was a new television Announcement in the Public Interest (“API”) about cannabis premiered in June 2020, Mr CHAN considered that it did not quite explicitly demonstrate the harms of cannabis, and asked about the publicity work targeting local students studying abroad subsequent to the legalization of use of recreational cannabis and a wide range of cannabis products in some overseas jurisdictions, such as Canada. He also expressed concern about the selling of cannabis products in Hong Kong. As there were many overseas students in Hong Kong, Ms QUAT was worried that cannabis would become more common among youngsters due to peer influence.
C for N clarified that Canada prohibited the export of recreational cannabis and related products unless authorized. The Narcotics Division (“ND”) had been cooperating with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto) to conduct publicity work to remind Hong Kong residents in Canada of the difference in law in relation to cannabis between Hong Kong and Canada. For local students studying in tertiary institutions in Hong Kong preparing for departure to overseas exchange programme, ND had earlier conducted seminars to remind them of the harmful effects of drugs and the dire consequences of bringing drugs to Hong Kong. C for N further explained that the new television API was made having regard to the response and comments from the anti-drug sector that youngsters were now more appealed to positive messages and healthy lifestyle instead of mere preaching. New posters and pamphlets were also released in April and June 2020 respectively which provided information on the harmful effects and other pertinent information of cannabis.
Proposed introduction of offences on voyeurism and non-consensual photography of intimate parts, and related offences
Mr CHAN Chun-ying considered that the descriptions under the proposed offences were not clear enough. As one of the descriptions of an “intimate act” was “the person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts are exposed or covered only with underwear”, he said that it would not be easy to grasp the meaning of “covered only with underwear”, in particular in males.
US for S thanked Members for their comments and agreed that the law draftings and explanations should be clear. He said that the proposed offences were preliminary having regard to LRC’s recommendations. The Government attached great importance to the guiding principles laid down by the LRC sub-committee, including the issue of gender neutrality. After the public consultation, the Government would take into consideration the views from Members, relevant stakeholders and members of the public in finalizing the legislative proposals.
Offences covered under the legislative proposals
Given that there was currently no official requirement on issuance of press identification, Mr CHAN Chun-ying was concerned about the possible abuse on the proposed defence mechanism. US for S stressed that the Government respected the freedom of press. Nevertheless, a balance had to be struck between media activities and privacy issues when drawing up statutory defences.