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Crime and SafetyBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Hong Kong - Crime and Safety
Typhoon season is one of the most dangerous times of the year. Between May and November, there can be many windstorms and rainstorms and some of these are strong. A classification rates the storms from T1, T3, T8, and T10. At T10, you can expect a lot of heavy damage and should stay indoors. At T8, public transportation will be cancelled and many restaurants and other public places will be closed. Winds can reach the excess of 180 km/h.
During the summer months when the temperatures are high and the humidity can be as much as 100%, it is suggested that you keep the heat in mind when you are outdoors. Those who are not experienced to such high temperatures can develop heat-related illnesses quickly. In addition, Hong Kong is known for keeping air conditioners on high settings when it is warm outside. The shock to your system when you go from outdoors to indoors can be overwhelming. Some people wear sweaters or long sleeves, even when the temperatures are high, to protect themselves from the cold indoors.
If you are the victim of a violent crime or need help in an emergency situation, you should dial 999. This will alert the police and bring ambulance transport if necessary. It is also helpful to know your local consulate’s contact details. In an emergency they should be able to help you find an attorney or interpreter.
Pickpockets can be found in large, crowded places, tourist areas, and public transportation. It is advised that you keep your belongings close to you and be aware of your surroundings. Women should particularly be mindful on public transportation where they might be subjected to forms of harassment.
Police officers are located throughout the city and are generally friendly and helpful. Because they are so visible throughout the city, some people resort a feeling of security that isn’t found in many locations. Police can be found patrolling restaurants, bars, cafes, and public transportation. They are almost always in uniform and the colors differentiate their ranks: blue signify enlisted and warrant officers, white officers, and brown traffic wardens. The traffic wardens control the traffic. They keep an eye out for jaywalkers in order to ensure the traffic situation remains safe in Hong Kong. The majority of the police officers in Hong Kong speak English or have a basic understanding of it. To show their language skills, they might have a red label under their shoulder badge.
Violent crimes in Hong Kong are not common. On the other hand, non-violent crimes such as deception and fraud are common. Beware when buying certain items. If you expect that they are fraudulent then you should steer clear of them because not only will you not be receiving quality items, you can also get in trouble with the law. Being cautious and aware of people approaching you on the street is advisable, too. Foreigners are often victims of purchasing fake goods such as herbs, gold, and jade items and foreign currency exchange scams. In the foreign currency exchange scam, a stranger might approach you and offer to exchange your foreign currency. If you do this, you might find that the money you receive back has no value. Money should only be exchanged in licensed money changers or banks.
To see a list of statistics comparing crimes rates in Hong Kong for this year and years gone past, visit: http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/09_statistics/csc.html
To get updated information on the current travel warnings and advisories for Hong Kong, you can visit your native country’s website. The United States keeps a page at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1136.html
There is a crime victim compensation program available to U.S. citizens who are legal residents or tourists in Hong Kong. This provides financial awards to those who are injured as a result of a crime of violence, or by a law enforcement officer using a weapon in the execution of his duty. It is non-contributory and non-means-tested. More information on this can be found at: http://www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/site_pubsvc/page_socsecu/sub_criminalan/
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