In response to a BUZZ enquiry on grooming of children for sex on dating websites, the Duty Officer at Police Public Relations Bureau said 22 people were arrested last year for compensated dating-related offences and 47 the previous year.
The police are active “cyber patrolling” and they work with internet service providers to post warnings on websites, monitor trends and gather intelligence on compensated dating activity. The officer said they also consider it important to educate the public to be aware of the dangers lurking on the internet.
Here’s the text of the Police Public Relations Bureau’s reply:
“The Prevention of Child Pornography Ordinance (Cap. 579) provides enhanced protection for children and young persons under 16 years of age against illicit exploitation involving child pornography. “The Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) criminalises the following compensated dating related acts:
- Soliciting for an Immoral Purpose (Cap. 200, S.147);
- Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with Girl under 16 (Cap. 200, S.124);
- Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with Girl under 13 (Cap. 200, S.123);
- Indecent Assault (Cap. 200, S.122);
- Unlawful Buggery (Cap. 200, S.118A-G);
- Control over Persons for Purpose of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse or Prostitution (Cap. 200, S.130);
- Causing Prostitution (Cap. 200, S.131);
- Living on Earnings of Prostitution of Others (Cap. 200, S.137);
- Access to Computer with Criminal or Dishonest Intent (Cap. 200, S.161).
“The number of persons arrested is tabulated below –
Year Number of persons arrested by Police for compensated dating-related offences* 2017 47 2018 22
“*The offences include control over person for prostitution, rape, unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16, indecent assault, indecent conduct towards girl under 16, criminal intimidation, procurement of persons under 16 for making pornography, living on earnings of prostitution, solicit for immoral purpose, and breach of condition of stay.
“The Force places strong emphasis on educating the youths regarding the pitfalls of compensated dating. Seminars and workshops are regularly conducted to disseminate pertinent information to parents, teachers, students and other stakeholders of the community.
“The Force conducts cyber patrol and maintains regular contacts with Internet Service Providers to explore opportunities of posting e-banner warnings on websites, monitor the trend and gather pertinent intelligence on compensated dating related activities. Proactive and intelligence-led enforcement actions, for instance, Operation WHALEDIVER, are taken against compensated dating related illegal activities.
“The Force will continue to work with stakeholders including the Social Welfare Department, Education Bureau as well as other NGOs to tackle compensated dating. Where appropriate, referrals will be made to these stakeholders with a view to making concerted efforts in combating compensated dating related crimes,” the PPRB duty officer said.