Safety and Security in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the safest countries in the world due to a very effective legal system. However, pickpockets are not uncommon, especially in crowded areas. Thus it is always better to be safe than sorry. Hong Kong triads (Chinese transnational organized crime organizations) still exist in this day, but most of their activities are underground. As long as one stays away from loan sharks and illegal betting, one should be safe from the triads.
Under the law, the police are allowed to conduct spot checks if they believe that one is engaging in suspicious activity. One is expected to cooperate with the police and one’s bags and pockets might be searched. By law however, one can reject a public search and contact one’s embassy for further assistance.
■ Emergency services
Police, Fire, Ambulance (Emergency): 999
Police (Non-emergency): 2527-7177
Most doctors in Hong Kong speak English. There are public and private hospitals, but expats are more likely to use the private ones. Fees are quite high, so it’s highly advised to international students that they get insurance before going to Hong Kong. Your host university can help you with this.
■ Political situation
Demonstrations are common in Hong Kong, but they tend to be non-aggressive and cause little annoyance to others. However, during large demonstrations, public transportation might be affected.
Politics as a topic in Hong Kong is largely divided into two camps, pro-Beijing versus pro-democracy. While one is protected by the law to exercise freedom of speech, one should always be careful when discussing politics during conversation.
■ Short trip
Traffic rules and regulations are strictly enforced with heavy penalties, but driving speeds in Hong Kong tend to be fast. Jay-walking is an offence and police officers often patrol the streets so it is common to wait at traffic lights before crossing.
■ Mobile phone networks
There are 5 main mobile operators in Hong Kong, and it is best to subscribe for a plan if you plan on staying on a long term basis. Mobile phone contracts usually last for 2 years. Alternatively, one can get a prepaid SIM card, which comes in voice and data varieties.
The 5 main mobile companies are:
• China Mobile (China Telecom)
• CSL (Telstra)
• 3 (Hutchison Whampoa)
• SmarTone-Vodafone (Vodafone)
• PCCW Mobile (PCCW)