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Living in Hong Kong
Safety in Hong Kong
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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Safety in Hong Kong: Safe and Sound as a Hong Kong Expat
For travelers, tourists and expats, Hong Kong is one of the safest places in the world. The safety standards are very high and there is little to worry about. With polite and efficient police officers who are omnipresent in the city, the city attempts to guarantee safety in Hong Kong for everybody. Low crime rates, especially for violent crimes, make Hong Kong the perfect place for you to settle down and find a job without worrying about safety in Hong Kong.
However, no place in the world can be 100% safe and Hong Kong is no fairy-tale land. To assure your personal safety in Hong Kong, you have to use some common sense to avoid becoming the victim of a petty crime. Typhoon warnings are another safety issue in Hong Kong, especially in September. You should know where to get information on safety precautions and warnings in Hong Kong and how to behave during typhoon season.
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Safety in Hong Kong: The Police Force
Hong Kong’s police are one of the reasons for the low crime rates and high level of safety in Hong Kong. The police are often described as very helpful, polite and omnipresent, which gives many people a general feeling of safety in Hong Kong, but also of surveillance. They often control buses, restaurants and bars and ask to see people’s IDs. Therefore you should always have some form of identification on your person, especially when you enjoy the relative safety of Hong Kong’s nightlife.
Hong Kong’s police officers are usually uniformed. Their uniforms come in three different colors indicating their rank or position. In general three different groups of police uniforms can be distinguished:
- Blue uniforms (Junior level, equivalent to enlisted and warrant officers)
- White uniforms (Officers)
- Brown uniforms (Traffic Wardens)
Traffic wardens control the traffic and look for jaywalkers to ensure the traffic safety in Hong Kong. This is why you should try to abide to the law and not run across the street when the light is red, even though this may be a common practice in your home country. Most of Hong Kong’s police officers speak English. They usually wear a red label under their shoulder badge to show their language skills.
Safety in Hong Kong: Police Warnings
Hong Kong’s crime rate is generally rather low and violent crimes are relatively infrequent. Unfortunately, other crimes such as fraud and deception are rather common. Try to be smart when walking the streets of Hong Kong and remain cautious of people approaching you on the street. Although the level of safety in Hong Kong is quite high, foreigners are more likely to become a victim of street deception. Two of the most common con tricks are:
- Foreign Currency Exchange. Strangers approach you on the street and offer to exchange foreign money into their currency. The money you will receive will be worthless, so beware. You should be suspicious, especially if the deals they offer sound too good to be true. Only exchange money in banks or with licensed money changers.
- Fake Goods. In some cases, people will approach you and try to sell you “valuable” goods such as gold, jade bracelets or herbs. These are often fake items and you will not get your money’s worth. Make sure to only buy at reputable stores, where you get a good deal or have some legal pull in case you are betrayed.
There are other frauds and con tricks you should be aware of. You can contact the Hong Kong police department for a full list and more information on safety in Hong Kong.