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Xia Baolong begins HK visit

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CPC Central Committee Hong Kong & Macao Work Office Director and State Council Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office Director Xia Baolong today arrived in Hong Kong for a seven-day inspection visit.   Upon his arrival at Hong Kong International Airport this morning, Mr Xia toured the Integrated Airport Centre in the company of Chief Executive John Lee, Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki and Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) Chairman Jack So.   Mr Xia was updated by Secretary for Transport & Logistics Lam Sai-hung and AAHK Chief Executive Officer Fred Lam, on the developments of the aviation industry and the latest situation of Hong Kong's development as an international aviation and cargo hub. Mr Xia also inspected the operation of autonomous vehicles at the airport.   In the afternoon, he had an engagement session with Principal Officials and Permanent Secretaries of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government led by Mr Lee.   At another engagement ses

Correctional services work reviewed

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The Correctional Services Department, in its annual review, said today that the number of new admissions to correctional facilities – including detainees, remand prisoners and convicted individuals – increased 30% to 17,268 in 2023, up from 13,246 in 2022.   At a press conference, Commissioner of Correctional Services Wong Kwok-hing said the average daily penal population at correctional facilities had increased to 8,498 persons in 2023, compared to 7,613 persons in 2022. The average daily occupancy rate rose from 67% to 75%.   Moreover, the average daily number of remand prisoners hit a new record high since 2000 of 3,096, up from 2,666 in 2022.    Mr Wong said that to ease the strain on Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, capacity at Stanley Prison and Tung Tau Correctional Institution had been deployed to accommodate adult male remand prisoners.   He added that the department will begin the partial redevelopment of Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre in mid-2024 to increase its c

Summer internship scheme launched

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The Government today announced the launch of the Scheme on Corporate Summer Internship on the Mainland & Overseas 2024 in collaboration with 25 large corporates to provide Hong Kong young people with internship placements.   The scheme is aimed at cultivating a cohort of young talent with a good understanding of the country's development and a global perspective.   It also provides young people with exposure to the work culture in large corporates in different parts of the world and an opportunity to establish interpersonal networks, which will benefit their future career development.   The internship placements are offered in multiple Mainland provinces and cities including various Mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, while some are in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and the UK.   They cover different industries such as financial services, innovation and technology, logisti

Inflation at 1.7% in January

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Consumer prices increased 1.7% year-on-year in January, a smaller increase than that registered in December 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of the Government’s one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 0.8%, also lower than that seen in December.   The department noted that the smaller increase was mainly due to the timing of the Lunar New Year last year, which fell in January, resulting in a high comparison base, in particular food prices.    Compared with January last year, price increases were recorded in the following categories: alcoholic drinks and tobacco; clothing and footwear; meals out and takeaway food; housing; miscellaneous services; miscellaneous goods; and transport.   By contrast, year-on-year price decreases for electricity, gas and water, basic food, and durable goods were recorded.   The Government said the underlying consumer price inflation moderated visibly in January, par

Kevin Yeung launches Art March

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A launch ceremony for Art March 2024 was held at the Museum of Art today, heralding an upcoming series of mega arts and cultural events in Hong Kong.   Officiating at the ceremony, Secretary for Culture, Sports & Tourism Kevin Yeung said that international and local arts and cultural events converge in the city every year in March, delighting art lovers and visitors.   “My bureau, the Culture, Sports & Tourism Bureau, has been pulling together the hard efforts of the arts and cultural sectors to enrich the ambience of mega arts and cultural events in Hong Kong. And this year for the first time, we launch Art March as a brand to promote multiple events organised, funded, or supported by the Government.   “We hope that everyone could enjoy an unforgettable experience immersed in the artistic vibe of Hong Kong during March every year.”   Activities in Art March 2024 include art exhibitions, film events, a cultural summit and a fashion show. In addition to the retur

SMS sender scheme expanded

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The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today that the SMS Sender Registration Scheme is now open for application by all sectors to further help the public verify the identities of SMS senders, with a view to combatting SMS fraud.   Apart from further opening up the scheme, the OFCA said it welcomes public and private organisations from various industries with a practical need to communicate with customers or clients via SMS to join the scheme.   Under the scheme, only registered senders are able to send SMS messages using their registered SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. All other SMS messages with sender IDs containing “#” but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by the telecommunications networks.   As such, the public can easily identify whether an SMS message is received from a registered sender by the prefix “#” in the SMS sender ID.   The OFCA reminds citizens to stay highly vigilant when receiving SMS messages from unknown sender

Kai Tak site accident being probed

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The Government expressed that it is highly concerned about an accident involving the collapse of a bamboo scaffold at a Kai Tak construction site today in which two workers were killed and three others injured.   A preliminarily investigation by the Buildings Department (BD) found that the scaffold, measuring about 15m by 8m, fell to the ground from the external wall on the 19th floor of a building under construction.   The BD said it will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the incident, including whether the scaffold, as temporary works, complied with the Buildings Ordinance and whether the registered contractor and any related persons have properly discharged their responsibilities.   It added that if anyone is found in contravention of the ordinance, it will take follow-up actions, including instigating prosecution and referring to the Contractors Disciplinary Board for disciplinary proceedings.   The Labour Department (LD) also launched an immed