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Living in Hong Kong
Expats in Hong Kong: Safety Advice
Hong Kong expats often worry about their safety in Hong Kong. However, this little state has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. To ensure that you avoid even small scams, we compiled a guide to safety in Hong Kong, including info on the police, on hiking safety, and typhoon season.
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Aside from various types of sports in Hong Kong, hiking is one of the favorite pastimes of many expats. Despite the high safety standards in Hong Kong, quite a few people who went on hikes have become victims of robbery and mugging. There are safety precautions you can take to minimize the risk and the loss of your belongings in case of a robbery:
- Plan your route well and finish the hike before it gets dark
- Stick to the main trail
- Tell friends and family about the route you are going to take
- Walk in groups
- Carry a cell phone in case of an emergency
- Don’t bring large amounts of money
- Stay away from suspicious people and inform the police if necessary
- In the case of a robbery, try to stay calm and do not resist
- In the case of an emergency, call the police
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The months between May and November are known as typhoon season in Hong Kong. Rainstorms, windstorms and generally rough weather conditions are particularly prevalent in September. Hong Kong has established an easy warning system with simple classifications.
- T1: A typhoon has been spotted but is still a few days away and may not affect Hong Kong. The T1-warning is simply a notice. Life will carry on as usual, but you should look out for more information.
- T3: This means that winds can hit the harbor with up to 110km/h. You should make sure to close all windows and tie down objects on your balcony and porch such as furniture or barbecue-grills. Try to stay indoors if the winds are very severe. T3s happen every once in a while and Hong Kong is well prepared for these weather conditions.
- T8: In the case of a T8, winds in the harbor may exceed 180 km/h. Work, school and most public transportations are usually cancelled and most restaurants and bars will close down. You should try to stay indoors and, if possible, away from all windows.
- T10: Time to brace yourself! A T10-classification means that the eye of the typhoon is directly above Hong Kong. Although Hong Kong hasn’t been hit directly for a couple of years now, you should be prepared as the damage can be huge. Try to take the same security precautions as during a T8 and watch the local news closely for more specific information. Remember that there will be a lull when the eye of the typhoon is directly above Hong Kong. It can take several minutes or even hours before the storm returns, so you should try to stay indoors.
In case of a typhoon warning, you can find a lot of information on the news and in some cases even on several buildings. You can also contact the Hong Kong Observatory for further details.
General Safety Advice
- Callthe general emergency number if you become victim of a crime and need police assistance or a doctor in Hong Kong. (999)
- Know your local consulate’s contact details and carry them with you. They may be able to provide you with a lawyer or interpreter in case of emergency.
- Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded places and on public transportation.
- Women may become subject to groping or general sexual harassment on public transportation.
- Before swimming in the ocean, find out if the waters are shark-free. Some beaches have installed shark nets.
Be careful when buying brand merchandise. The “designer brands” could be illegal copies and buying them could get you in serious trouble