A total of 1,446 people from mainland China were arrested in Hong Kong last year for various offenses, Ming Pao Daily News reported, citing data from the Security Bureau.
The figure represents an increase of 7.8 percent over such detentions in 2012, the report said
Of the arrestees last year, 57 were related to crimes involving firearms and ammunition — a jump of 150 percent over the corresponding figure in 2012, it said.
As possession of stun guns is not illegal in certain countries, it is possible that some tourists may have neglected to observe relevant laws in Hong Kong, the report cited veteran police officers as saying.
Meanwhile, arrests for shoplifting were up 50 percent at 269 last year.
Owners of some drugstores have stepped up security efforts following an increase in shoplifting cases involving mainland tourists, the report cited Lam Wai-man, deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Pharmacy.
Government statistics revealed that 46.99 million people visited Hong Kong in 2014.
Of the 1,466 mainlanders who were arrested for criminal offenses last year, 789 were said to have traveled to Hong Kong under the solo visitor scheme.
The Security Bureau said the police would closely monitor the situation and that it will continue to exchange intelligence with mainland and overseas law enforcement agencies.
Wong Wai-sheung, chairman of jewelry chain Luk Fook Holdings (International), said the number of shoplifting cases involving mainland customers remained more or less the same at the company’s stores for the past few years.
Joseph Tung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, said there are no signs of an increase in the number of shop thefts by mainlanders.
Most of the criminal cases involving the visitors were actually related to disputes with their tour guides, he said.
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