Protest arrests leave prisons bursting at the seams

The Correctional Services Department (CSD) has complained of overcrowding at two of its detention centres, with the number of people remanded in custody hitting a decade high due to a spike in arrests made over the 2019 anti-government protests.

In its annual review published on Wednesday, the department said the average daily number of people on remand last year was 1,962, representing a 37 percent jump from 2011.

On one day, the number of people in custody awaiting trial hit 2,195.

“It should be noted that as the legal proceedings of the cases in relation to the social disturbances were in progress, there was an increase in the number of remands”, the department said.

“The substantial increase in the number of remands aged 21 or above imposed a heavy burden on Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre and Tai Lam Centre for Women, resulting in the penal population frequently exceeding the admission capacity of both institutions.”

The CSD said it expects the figures to increase even further this year, adding that it will monitor the situation closely and make necessary adjustments.

“The department responded immediately and arranged for some remands to transfer in batches to Stanley Prison and Lo Wu Correctional Institution in an orderly manner.”