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DoJ rejects malicious attacks

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today said it will not tolerate malicious attacks on its decision, which was made in accordance with the law.   In a statement setting out the general principles in handling prosecutions, the DoJ reminded the public to refrain from commenting on any case in which the legal proceedings are still ongoing.   The statement said in respect of an application for review of admission to bail lodged by the DoJ on March 4, it should be noted that the case in question involves application for bail under Article 42(2) of the National Security Law.   The Court of Final Appeal delivered a judgment on February 9 on how to apply the granting of bail to a person charged with an offence under the National Security Law.   According to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, the Secretary for Justice may apply to a judge to review the decision of admission to bail by a magistrate. The ordinance provides that a person may also apply to a judge to be admitted to bail if the

Faster online payment progresses

The Government today said it is examining the feasibility of accepting online payments for government services through the Faster Payment System (FPS) while at least seven of its departments have started preparatory work.   Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui told lawmakers in the Legislative Council today that such an initiative, expected to be rolled out by phases in 2022, will cover various services frequently used by the public, including applications for licences and certificates, booking and registration of services.   He pointed out that the Government started accepting bill payment via FPS QR codes in November 2019.   Currently, bills issued by the Inland Revenue Department, the Rating & Valuation Department and the Water Supplies Department, as well as general demand notes issued by the Government are printed with FPS QR codes.   As of the end of December last year, more than 1.76 million bill payments via the FPS were recorded, involving an amount of over $2.1 billion.   Additionally, FPS QR code devices have been available for use at designated counters and self-help kiosks of the Companies Registry, the Immigration Department, the Official Receiver's Office and the Transport Department since last December.   A total of seven government departments now accept payments through the FPS, Mr Hui noted.   He said the Government will keep in view market developments and continue to promote the wider use of electronic payment through appropriate financial technology infrastructure and regulations, adding that various departments will study the feasibility of extending FPS payment functions to their bills.   As the use of contactless payment is conducive to reducing the virus transmission risk in markets, the Government launched a subsidy scheme in October last year to provide a subsidy to tenants of market stalls at a flat rate of $5,000 for each stall to meet initial set-up costs as well as service and other fees related to the provision of at least one contactless payment means.   The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has received over 3,500 applications since the scheme's launch. Some tenants have also provided contactless payment means on their own without applying for the subsidies.   Noting that a series of promotional activities for tenants of the FEHD's market stalls and on-site explanations have been conducted, Mr Hui said the Government will conduct a publicity drive focusing on customers' needs to encourage market stall tenants to use contactless payment means for transactions through market forces.

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