SAR listed as one of world's safest cities

Local | Amy Nip Jan 12, 2018
Hong Kong is among the world's safest cities to visit, according to a new travel advisory system launched by the US Department of State.

Under this new system, every country or region will have a Travel Advisory, providing levels of advice ranging from the lowest at 1 to highest at 4. Risk factors include crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health and time-specific events, such as the hosting of a mega event heightening security risk.

Level 1 advises "exercise normal precautions," the lowest level for safety and security risk. Level 2 advises "exercise increased caution" for heightened risks to safety and security; and Level 3 means "reconsider travel" as there could be serious risks.

Level 4, "do not travel" applies to areas with a greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.

Hong Kong is comfortably grouped under Level 1 with Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan.

Mainland China is under Level 2 which advises: "Exercise increased caution due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals." The advisory also says that US citizens visiting or residing in the mainland have been arbitrarily interrogated or detained for reasons related to "state security."

Security personnel have detained and deported Americans for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government, it stated.

"China may refuse to acknowledge dual US-Chinese nationals' US citizenship, including denying US assistance to detained dual nationals, and preventing their departure from China," the advisory warns.

If a dual US-Chinese national enters China on a Chinese government travel document, such as a Chinese passport or a national ID card, US consular officers will not be allowed to visit the individual or assist in interactions with the Chinese government should the individual be arrested, detained, or involved in criminal or civil investigation, it notes.

Russia, Turkey and Venezuela are among those falling into Level 3.

Countries on the "no go" list include Iran, struck by deadly demonstrations lately, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

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January 2019