Spotlight City: Hong Kong

Spotlight City: Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, lying on the Pearl River Delta off the southeast coast of mainland China. The city, with a population of 7,374,900, ranks as the world’s fourth most densely populated sovereign state or territory. Under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong maintains a largely independent political and economic system from China. Hong Kong possess a distinct cultural identity and flavor compared to mainland China and is globally important as one of the world’s most significant financial centers. While Hong Kong is generally a safe city, levels of petty crime are high. As a visitor to Hong Kong, you should be aware of a handful of safety tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Threats and Risks to Travelers in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is generally considered a safe city, with low levels of violent crime. However, its high urban density and heavy tourism draws its fair share of opportunistic thieves. Pickpockets are rampant in the city, so take extra caution with your belongings when out in public. Crowded areas such as Sham Shui Po and Mong Kok, any tourist attraction as well as public transportation, are particularly notorious for high crime rates.

Hong Kong has a reputation for its frequent and regular political demonstrations. Public transportation along Causeway Bay, Wanchai, and Central may be disrupted during protests. While most demonstrations in the past have been non-violent, you should stay away if you encounter one.

Best Practices for Personal Security in Hong Kong

Remain attentive at all times, as thieves can relieve you of your possessions very quickly. Be aware of personal space and exercise caution if you find people bumping into you haphazardly, as this is a common way pickpockets steal. Thieves can also work in pairs: some types of beggars can be insistent and distract you while another thief quietly pickpockets your person. Do not carry high amounts of cash on your person, and keep personal documents separate from your wallet to minimize the chance of loss.

Whenever possible, stick to larger, well-lit roads and avoid side-alleys or isolated streets, especially after dark. At night, it is best to remain in areas with lots of people.

The haggle culture of Hong Kong’s markets can often cause travelers to fall victim to tourist traps. If something sounds too good to be true, more than likely it is. When purchasing local goods, always ask for a receipt before leaving the store. If possible, consult trusted locals for reputable retail locations.

What to Do in an Emergency

In the event of an emergency, dial 999 to access emergency fire, medical and police services. Contact the representation of your country in Hong Kong as they may be able to provide further assistance. You should also be able to obtain assistance in English at local police stations and hospitals.

Enjoy Your Trip!

Hong Kong is a vibrant city with something to offer every traveler. The city’s culture has taken influence from a variety of sources over the years, and today it proudly proclaims itself as “Asia’s World City.” Highly modernized yet retaining traditional cultural charm, Hong Kong should be a destination on every traveler’s list.

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