From October 2014 to February 2015, the number of police requests towards local and foreign service providers stood at 101 cases, more than the sum of its requests in the past four years (February 2011 to September 2014), which was 94 cases.
The police said the information requested for removal was “mainly involving obscene articles, phishing websites and accessing computer with criminal/dishonest intent”, and “most of the organisations concerned removed the relevant information as requested by the police.”
As the police refused to disclose exactly how many of those requests were made under court orders, the public has no way to know whether those removal requests could be legally justified.
Last week, Charles Mok moved a motion at the LegCo to review “access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent”, or section 161 of Crimes Ordinance, which according to a number of legislators has been vigorously used by the police to arrest online forum users during the Occupy Central movement, an alarming signal for the city’s press and speech freedom.
To find out more about the police’s and other government department’s user data and content removal requests in the past years, please refer to Hong Kong Transparency Report’s database.