Speech at Panel on Security

Proposed development and implementation of the Advance Passenger Information system

System design

On the Administration’s proposal to employ an external service provider (i.e. or referred to as a data broker) to develop and host a data network to link all the relevant airlines with the proposed iAPI system of ImmD, concerns were raised on whether there would be any breakdown by items of the enormous amount of the non-recurrent expenditure required for the hiring of the services of a data broker which was estimated to be $91,589,000 over the four-year period from 2022-2023 to 2025-2026, as well as whether there was room to lower the estimated annual expenditure of $35,804,000 from 2026-2027 onwards for provision of hardware and software maintenance and for software license fee to support the proposed iAPI system. The Administration agreed to provide, if viable, further details in its paper to be submitted to FC. That said, certain information could not be disclosed at this stage in order not to affect the tender exercise. It added that ImmD had engaged a consultant to conduct a feasibility study having regard to the API systems implemented in the Mainland and other overseas jurisdictions. The above expenditure was a preliminary estimation based on the market research findings.

The proposed regulatory framework

In response to an enquiry about the follow-up actions to be taken by ImmD to prevent potentially high-risk passengers from entering Hong Kong in case an exemption from the API requirements was granted to individual aircraft under exceptional scenarios, the Administration said that the airline concerned would be required to provide the name list of passengers and crew members to ImmD as soon as practicable for risk assessment and the taking of appropriate follow-up actions.

Smart Customs Information Technology Infrastructure

Expected benefits and savings

Information was sought on how the implementation of the proposed SCITI, which would enhance C&ED’s efficiency, could bring benefits to members of the public and whether the total annual savings of over $30 million arising from the implementation of the project would be deployed to other areas of work of C&ED. The Administration advised that the proposed CBDAS would serve as a more sophisticated and centralized “data lake” for all data analytics initiatives. This would facilitate a more precise and effective risk assessment to strengthen C&ED’s capability to detect and combat smuggling activities and other customs-related crimes, which would in turn enable a more speedy passenger and cargo clearance at boundary control points. The Administration further advised that the proposed SCITI would bring about realizable and notional savings in staff cost. The fragmented staff cost savings from productivity gain as a result of enhanced efficiency in data analysis and risk assessments would be redeployed to support other tasks of C&ED.

Implementation plan

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that full commissioning of SCITI was targeted in the fourth quarter of 2026. Information was sought on the measures to be taken by the Administration to address the risk of malfunction and suspension of services due to the unavailability of hardware or maintenance support from product vendors after the server of the existing Central Information Repository System (“CIRS”) reached its expected end of service period by end-2024. The Administration advised that where necessary, it would extend the service agreement for CIRS.