Suspected loss of personal data held by Immigration Department

22 Oct 2015

The Immigration Department (ImmD) said today (October 22) that a pack of arrival/departure cards completed by visitors had been lost. The cards were completed by passengers arriving and departing via Sha Tau Kok Control Point on September 28. They carry 460 visitors' personal data, though no Hong Kong residents are involved. After days of searching the ImmD has not yet located the cards.

An ImmD spokesman said, "A special task force headed by an Assistant Director of Immigration has been formed to carry out an investigation into the incident. The search scope will be broadened in an attempt to find the cards, while the relevant procedures will also be scrutinised to see if any negligence or mishandling is involved. If the incident involves any negligence or mishandling, the Department will treat it in a serious manner. In the meantime, the management of all personal data has been enhanced to prevent the recurrence of such an incident. The Department has reminded its frontline staff to strictly adhere to departmental working guidelines to ensure the proper handling and protection of personal data. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has been notified of the incident and feasible measures will be taken accordingly to inform the data providers involved. In addition, the case has been referred to the Police for follow-up and the Department will fully support the investigation.

"Following initial investigation by the Department, there is no indication of a leak of such data so far. While this case is believed to be an isolated incident, the Department will review the existing security of personal data as advised by the special task force and ensure effective protection of personal data collected.

"The Department attaches great importance to security of personal data, and has laid down clear internal guidelines and a control mechanism to ensure that personal data is kept in compliance with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and other relevant laws and ordinances. Staff are also regularly reminded to adhere to the relevant guidelines and provisions."