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HK & the 4th Amendment

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  1. #1

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    HK & the 4th Amendment

    In HK the police can stop anyone for a search if that person is behaving suspiciously (see the link). Unlike the police in the US, it seems they do not need a warrant or probable-cause. I believe that most Americans would claim that HK police power significantly erodes the personal privacy of HK's citizens, and they'd note the differences of US law: namely the 4th Amendment.

    I'm an American and have lived in HK for four years. Truth be told, the power of HK's police has never bothered me, and I sometimes appreciate the fact that HK police can search anyone for weapons; I suspect that it might contribute to Hong Kong's low crime rates.

    Although HK police power might benefit me personally (I don't carry contraband and I don't get searched), it may cause insult to those people who frequently get stopped for searches; I empathize with those people.

    Anyway: I'm interested to know the thoughts of others on this point. Do you think this power of HK police, compared to the powers of US police, is a net-positive for Hong Kong?

    Or: Am I wrong and HK police powers are very similar to the US?

    http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/11_u...power_ssa.html

    Last edited by paul9; 19-12-2011 at 10:57 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Here is a link which provides a slightly different emphasis to the one from the HK police. CLIC - Police and Crime: Police powers - Under what circumstances can the police stop and search me in a public area?

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  3. #3

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    Yes, that's a different angle:

    "For example, the actions of a person who is carrying a knife and waiting nervously outside a jewellery shop may give rise to a reasonable suspicion."

    Ya think?


  4. #4

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    From the police:

    A police officer has a general power to stop and question any person behaving suspiciously. Whilst doing so he may demand proof of identity, conduct computerised enquiries and search for weapons or drugs.
    From the lawyers:

    The police officers can also search that person for anything likely to be of value to the investigation of the suspected offence. The suspicion on the part of the police officers in these circumstances must be “reasonable”, which is to be judged on an objective basis with valid reasons.

  5. #5

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    Constable Savage...


  6. #6

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    I see; thanks. It seems that the situation may be more similar to the US than what I had thought.


    Funny clip

    Last edited by paul9; 19-12-2011 at 11:29 PM.

  7. #7

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    This site I find pretty good for HK legal issues:
    CLIC - Police and Crime: Police powers - Under what circumstances can the police stop and question me in a public place? Must I answer their questions?

    "1. Under what circumstances can the police stop and question me in a public place? Must I answer their questions?

    BackPrintEmail this page to a freind Next

    Stopping and questioning

    Under section 54(1) of the Police Force Ordinance (Cap. 232 Laws of Hong Kong), it is lawful for a police officer to stop a person who is acting in a suspicious manner. The police officer may require that person to produce proof of identity (i.e. by showing a Hong Kong ID card or passport), and detain that person on the spot for a reasonable period to make enquiries into whether or not the person is suspected of having committed any offence at any time. What constitutes a "suspicious manner" is based only on the subjective assessment of the police officer. However, the police officer must, in fact, have a genuine suspicion

    Section 49 of the Public Order Ordinance (Cap. 245) permits a police officer to require any person to produce proof of his identity for inspection for the purpose of preventing, detecting or investigating any offence. A failure by that person to produce proof of identity under these circumstances constitutes an offence.

    The police and immigration officers also have power under section 17C(2) of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115) to demand any resident in Hong Kong aged 15 or above to produce proof of his identity for inspection. A failure by that person to produce proof of identity as required without reasonable excuse constitutes an offence. It should be noted that this provision does not apply to foreign visitors who are staying in Hong Kong for not more than 180 days.

    The right to silence

    The police have the power to question anyone in accordance with the above rules. On the other hand, the common law as well as Article 11(2g) of section 8 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Cap. 383) provide that a person has the right not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt, i.e. every person in Hong Kong has the right to silence. By virtue of that right, a person may in general refuse to answer any question posed by a police officer. However, the driver of a vehicle who is suspected of committing a road traffic offence or being involved in a traffic accident must give his name, address and driving licence number to the police upon request ( section 63 of the Road Traffic Ordinance , Cap. 374)."

    ===

    Given the requirement for an Identity card that must be possessed at all times opens the door to police stopping anyone they might suspect violates the Immigration rules. I suspect that criminals in HK do not have as much chance to get off on a technicality as they do in the USA and now Canada once we passed the Bill of Rights. Before the Canadian Bill of Rights if they police didn't issue the standard police warning (a la Miranda in the USA) the courts would not just let the guy go. It was better if entry to a dwelling house was proper (warrant) but not necessary as it is now which is the same as the USA.

    ===

    Some would argue that the Terror rules in the USA would give police more powers such as what this former US gov't official says. BUT the US Supreme Court still gives Americans and those charged with crimes the loop holes of Miranda and illegal search and seizure. This other stuff is for suspected terrorists.


    The Shame of Being an American

    It Is Official: The US Is A Police State


    "Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell."

    It Is Now Official: The US Is a Police State by Paul Craig Roberts -- Antiwar.com

    Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties.

    The Bush regime was determined to vitiate habeas corpus in order to hold people indefinitely without bringing charges. The regime had acquired hundreds of prisoners by paying a bounty for terrorists. Afghan warlords and thugs responded to the financial incentive by grabbing unprotected people and selling them to the Americans.

    The Bush regime needed to hold the prisoners without charges because it had no evidence against the people and did not want to admit that the U.S. government had stupidly paid warlords and thugs to kidnap innocent people. In addition, the Bush regime needed “terrorists” prisoners in order to prove that there was a terrorist threat.

    As there was no evidence against the “detainees” (most have been released without charges after years of detention and abuse), the U.S. government needed a way around U.S. and international laws against torture in order that the government could produce evidence via self-incrimination. The Bush regime found inhumane and totalitarian-minded lawyers and put them to work at the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) to invent arguments that the Bush regime did not need to obey the law.


  8. #8

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    The video clip is very funny but unfortunately there is some truth in it for the UK. In a recent academic study of 740 people involved in the UK riots, 75% said their main focus was revenge against abuse by the police, and 73% had been stopped and searched in the previous year.


  9. #9

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    @ Brit *like*


  10. #10

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    What's the 4th Amendment got to do with HK anyway?

    If you want go back to the US where there is 10 times (or there abouts) the violent crime rate....

    PS. Interesting to note that murders have gone from 66 in 2001 to 13 (so far) in 2011.

    Last edited by virago; 20-12-2011 at 12:05 PM.

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