It takes more than one month to get a response to about 1/3 of the FOI requests we made. One even took more than 3 months (the nationality breakdown as described below). ImmD refused to provide the number of non-refoulement claimants resettled to a third country when justice centre made an FOI request because it’s ‘UNHCR’s work’, but when asked the same in LegCo they immediately provided the number. The Police Joint Financial Intelligence Unit refused to provide the number suspicious activity reports with the tick box ‘human trafficking’ ticked because it was ‘confidential’. However, when Scott asked for the same data, it was refused on the grounds that it may be ‘misleading or deprive it of publication value’. (Scott has complained to the Ombudsman and as far as I know, the Police has replied but I don’t know the details of the follow-up. Piya, you might want to get more information about the complaint from him.) For example, the ImmD does not maintain statistics about the age of non-refoulement claimants at the time of claim determination although whether a claimant is a child is highly important in evaluating a claim Nationality breakdown of non-refoulement claimants- we made a request in 2017 because ImmD once gave LegCo the nationalities of all claimants in 2015. At first, ImmD sent us their webpage, where only the top 10 nationalities are listed, even though we specifically asked for those not listed on that webpage. After one follow up email, they sent us the regions (the categorisation is again very odd- Southeast and South Asia, Africa, Middle East & North Africa, other parts of Asia, America, Europe & Central Asia). Then, after another follow-up email, they finally sent us the nationality breakdown of all claimants. When asked whether any non-refoulement claims have been made on human trafficking grounds, ImmD replied that claimants should not ‘cherrypick’ grounds and, in any event, they do not maintain the data.
Universal Periodic Review
Scott Edmunds Lightning talk: Experiences of NGO
Experiences of a NGO
• Government responses to access to information requests
take a long time
• Government does not release information they hold for
• Data that the Government ‘regularly maintains’ is limited
• Government made odd comments when responding to
• Organisations carrying out a public role, such as the Duty
Lawyer Service, are not covered by the Code on Access
Want evidence based policy on internment camps?
Do we need to lock up S Asians in SSP?
Sometimes you need to find your own data
Inconsistent reasons for not returning data…
Reject again based on: “Information relating to incomplete
analysis, research or statistics, where disclosure could be
misleading or deprive the department or any other person of
priority of publication or commercial value.”
“in view of the confidentiality of the content, your requested
data could not be provided.”
Errr, there isn’t any identifiable data. It’s all anonymised.
Data access can cost lots of money…
Source from following FOI requests:
Companies Registry = $73,000 HKD
Lands Dept = $4.15 million HKD
Hospital Authority = $250,000 HKD
Yearly Revenue Data Access Fees:
The Quasi-government complex
The Quasi-government complex
TCM Safety information =
Gathering our own open data…
Do we need to lock up all S Asians in SSP?
No. Crime rate is low, stable, and 2% arrests are of S
Asians (50-60 people)
Submissions of the Hong Kong UPR Coalition:
• HKSAR should adopt a Freedom of Information Ordinance that
establishes maximum disclosure and minimal exemption
requirements, within one year.
• HKSAR should adopt an Archives Ordinance, incorporating
mandatory public sector compliance and penalties for non-
compliance, destruction of records and denial of access, within
Open Data Hong Kong
PEN Hong Kong
The Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong
How to fix this? Fill policy vacuum