I have lived and traveled to Hong Kong for many years. During my time there, I have usually found Hong Kong to be a very safe city.
Hong Kong is still a relatively safe city, and Hong Kong is usually safe to walk at night. But with any place that you are traveling, there are some precautions that you should take when you are walking around a city that you do not know. In recent years Hong Kong has had some violent protests, which has led to an increase in crime. Crime in Hong Kong is considered a crime of opportunity and is not as violent as in some other parts of the world.
Safety in Hong Kong
For many years Hong Kong was considered one of the safest places in the world to live, work, and travel. I would walk almost anywhere in Hong Kong day or night and not worry. I always found Hong Kong extremely safe to walk around at night, especially in many tourist areas.
In recent years this has been changing as there have become more violent protests in Hong Kong. But despite these protests, Hong Kong is still relatively safe. Hong Kong protests are about the Hong Kong people protesting some laws and policies that have been put in place by mainland China.
It is usually when large crowds gather to protest that parts of Hong Kong become a flashpoint for violent protests. Many times these protests become most violent at night. Many of the protests are also limited to a certain part of the city.
Despite all these protests, as a tourist, Hong Kong is relatively safe to travel to. But with any large city in Asia, there are certain things you should remember when you are traveling to Hong Kong.
Crime and Safety in Hong Kong
Crime has been increasing in Hong Kong. A lot of this increase is due to the crime due to Hong Kong’s increase in protests. Even the Hong Kong government says that the increasing crime corresponds with the increase in the protest. This is because many of these protests turned violent.
But if you’re going to Hong Kong you can take some precautions to help ensure your safety.
Here are the major crimes in Hong Kong and ways to stay safe:
- Protests – In years past, Hong Kong had very few protests. But in recent years, protesting is starting to become more of the norm. If you are traveling to Hong Kong and there are protests taking place, it will be best to avoid those areas.
- Crimes of Opportunity – Like in many other parts of Asia, many Hong Kong crimes are considered crimes of opportunity. This would mean that you have a bag that is not secure, so somebody comes and pickpockets you. There have also been incidents where people will go behind you and slashed your backpack to take out the backpack contents. This is why you may find many of the Asians may wear their backpacks on their front side and not on their backside. One of the best things you can do to ensure your safety is to look around you and see what the locals are doing; if you see many Asians with backpacks on the front then start to wear your backpack also on the front side.
- Crimes of Deception – Other major crimes in Hong Kong are considered crimes of deception. A crime of deception is when someone will try to scam you in some way. Maybe one of the small shops may try to sell you some fake goods. This is why it is best to shop at reputable places and use your vigilance when shopping or doing other things in Hong Kong.
- Robbery and Burglaries – Hong Kong has reported some robbery and burglary cases. What is very interesting about this is that there are usually no cases involving the use of firearms. This is because obtaining a firearm in Hong Kong is very difficult. Most of these robberies or burglaries are crimes of opportunity.
- Theft – Another area which has seen a slight increase of about 9% in Hong Kong is theft. Most cases involve snatching; snatching means that someone would grab your purse from you, take your wallet, or steal from a vehicle. Again these would be crimes of opportunities where someone may see that you left something in the car, and they will take it.
- Homicide – I believe the homicide rate in Hong Kong shows how safe the city is compared to many larger cities. Many of the homicide cases in Hong Kong are under 12 per year. If you compare this to a U.S. city as Detriot, Michigan, over 260 people murdered per year.
- Rape and Violent Sexual Crimes – Rape and violent sexual crimes have gone down significantly in Hong Kong. No rape cases were reported that were committed by strangers, so all rape cases in Hong Kong happened with someone they knew. Your chance of a random rape in Hong Kong is meager to almost nonexistent.
- Gang Crimes – A lot of the crimes in Hong Kong are gang-related. And these crimes generally do not affect normal citizens but are more a gang against another gang. Many of the crimes are due to gambling debts or disagreements. I have never seen any violent gangs roaming Hong Kong’s streets, as you see in some major U.S. cities.
Tips to Stay Safe in Hong Kong
But with all places in Asia it is best if you can check things out if you are not sure. For example if you’re travelling to Hong Kong and you hear there may be some protest then there are some extra steps and precautions that you should take.
Here are some of our tips to stay safe in Hong Kong:
- Check Local News – If you’re traveling in Hong Kong, check the local news or talk to your hotel to find out if there are any protests or problems in any area. This would be the safest way to get some of the last-minute information. Most hotels, especially the five-star hotels, should handle what is happening in the city. They would tell you If it was safe, for example, to take the MTR, which is a mass transit system, or if you should take a taxi to your destination.
- Keep Your Belongings Secure – Keep your belongings secure when you are traveling in Hong Kong. This means make sure your handbag, backpack, or purse was securely on you when you were walking the streets. If you were in a hotel and they have a safe and lock your things up. If they do not have a safe, you may want to consider to lock your things in a suitcase with a lock.
- Use Common Sense – When you are traveling in Hong Kong, you will also use some common sense for your own safety. I have walked throughout most of Hong Kong day and night and I’ve never had any problems or issues. But then I know Hong Kong, and I know the areas I am walking. Use practical common sense when you are in Hong Kong for your own safety; do not purposely try to go into a dangerous area.
- Report to Police – If you feel someone is following you or something happens to you, then report it to the police. There are police stations all over Hong Kong, and any at any time I have gone in there, the police have spoken English. So it is straightforward for you to go in there, talk to the police about any of your concerns or worries, or report a crime.
- Talk to Local Friends – Local friends you can ask them about where they would tell you where you should or should not go. Most of the local people in Hong Kong understand if an area is no longer safe or has a problem.
Hong Kong is still a relatively safe place to visit. With any major city, there are precautions you should take. In present-day Hong Kong, an extra precaution that you should take is finding out if there are any areas you should not travel to because they are active demonstrations.
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