Hong Kong - Safety Tips
Hong Kong is a very safe city, especially on Hong Kong Island, but you should always use common sense.
- Always lock the door to your flat, even when you’re inside.
- Keep your balcony doors locked. Some thieves have scaled the sides of buildings and managed to get in through the balcony.
- Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket or visible in an unzipped purse. Be especially careful in crowded areas.
- Mobile phones are easy to steal since a quick switch of the SIM card will make the phone usable to the new owner. Don't lend your phone to a stranger who wants to make a "quick call" as they may take off with your phone. Most public places have a free phone if you ask to use it, so no one should need to borrow your phone.
- Make sure your child locks things away at school and doesn’t get careless with CD players, mobile phones, wallets, graphing calculators, etc.
- Be careful in unknown parts of the city.
- Be sure to lock valuables away in your home. If you have an amah (helper), do not tempt them by leaving expensive jewelry or money lying around. Have a safe in the house. A safe gives peace of mind to you AND your helper.
Security is not a problem in Hong Kong as the city is very safe. Public transportation does not pose a problem for older children. For younger children, you need your own car with a child’s seat so that you can be assured your child is safe in case of an accident.
To keep children safe, it's a good idea to prepare them in advance.
Teach children their name, address, telephone number and parents' names
Tell them that if it doesn't feel right, it's OK to say NO
Tell them not to get into the car or walk with a stranger. If your child has to be picked up by someone else, make sure you have agreed on a secret code, so they can identify the person correctly.
Tell them not to let a stranger take a picture of them.
Tell them not to approach a car if somebody is asking for directions or claims of having lost a pet.
Do not have your child wear clothing or anything else where the name is visible.
As parents, we should listen to our children carefully and watch for any warning signs they may be giving us indirectly. Make sure you know your children's friends, teachers etc.
Typhoons are classified as T1, T3, T8, T9, T10. A T1 indicates a possible typhoon is nearby. A T3 means that the typhoon is closer, and some nursery schools are closed. Once the T8 signal is hoisted, all classes are cancelled and all businesses are closed until the signal is lowered. If you are out and the T8 signal is hoisted, remember:
- Get home immediately. Public transportation will soon quit running.
- Put up typhoon shutters over your windows if you have them. Otherwise place a large X on all windows using masking tape in case something should break the glass.
- Make sure you have candles on hand in case of a power outage and some bottled water (or tap water in your fridge). After a typhoon, be sure to run your water a bit to clear out the pipes before drinking anything.
- Bring in any patio furniture that could be picked up and thrown around. Your apartment building should have a system for notifying you if a signal has been hoisted. Also, some local TV channels will show the signals at the top of the screen while other programmes are running. If you want to check to see if a signal has been raised, check the TV or the Hong Kong Observatory at: www.hko.gov.hk/textonly/index.htm
With heavy rain comes dangerous landslides. The government has a warning system that is broadcast on the TV. Amber rainstorm signals (looks like a yellow raincloud) means heavy rain, 30mm per hour, is falling and expected to continue. Be alert to a possible upgrade of the weather warning.
Red rainstorm signal heavy rain, 50mm per hour, is falling and expected to continue. Some nursery schools close so parents of young children should find out the school's policy .
Black rainstorm signal very heavy rain. Everyone should stay inside until it passes. Children do not go to school nor do people go to work until the signal has been lowered. If students or employees are at school/work, they can not leave until the signal has been lowered.
To see what the weather warning signals look like, go to: www.hko.gov.hk/textonly/explain/intro.htm .
Do not swim in the sea around Hong Kong as it's very polluted. If you are determined to swim, then there is a beach grading system listed by the government. Go to: www.epd.gov.hk/epd/textonly/english/environmentinhk/water/beach_quality/bwq_grading.html
to find out more information about the beach you wish to swim at.
Pollution can cause problems in Hong Kong, especially for asthmatics. The newspaper and evening news will report the pollution index.
Dengue fever entered Hong Kong during the summer of 2002. Therefore be sure to take procautions against mosquitos during the warm season.
Hong Kong is a very safe city, but common sense precautions should still be taken, such as watching out for pickpockets, locking doors, etc.