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Welfare cases dip 0.2%

The overall Comprehensive Social Security Assistance caseload dropped by 459 cases to 199,941 in January, down 0.2% from December last year, the Social Welfare Department announced today.   The total number of recipients was 273,349.   Low-earnings cases registered a month-to-month reduction of 0.8% to 1,568. Unemployment cases fell 0.6% to 17,075.   Single parent cases dropped 0.5% to 20,385. Old age cases dipped 0.3% to 112,032.   Meanwhile, ill-health cases increased 0.3% to 27,817, and permanent disability cases remained steady at 17,164. http://dlvr.it/T32R7Z

Views sought on firearm control

The Government today launched a four-week public consultation on the control of genuine firearm component parts.   It said firearms and their component parts have always been under stringent control in Hong Kong.   The Government pointed out that cases involving genuine arms have increased in recent years and criminals have made use of the loophole in the existing definition of arms under the Firearms & Ammunition Ordinance to smuggle component parts of genuine firearms into Hong Kong in separate shipments and then assemble them into fully functional firearms to evade the law.   Noting that the situation is worrying, the Government said it is necessary to provide a clearer and more concrete definition of firearm component parts to plug the legal loophole.   It proposed to amend the Firearms & Ammunition (Declaration of Arms) Regulations to list specific essential firearm component parts as arms under the Firearms & Ammunition Ordinance.   A 90-day grace period was also proposed to allow those affected to dispose of the component parts or apply for a licence from Police before the regulations come into effect.    The consultation will end on March 16.   The Government will consolidate views received and table the proposed amendments by subsidiary legislation at the Legislative Council, with a view to completing the legislative process within the current legislative session.   Views can be submitted by email, faxed to 2810 7702 or posted to the Security Bureau at 10/F, East Wing, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar.   Click here for the consultation document.
http://dlvr.it/RstJ8K

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