By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Director of the Judiciary Police (PJ) Wong Sio Chak said yesterday that the formation of the Computer Crime Investigation Department is not aimed at suppressing freedom of speech on the Internet.
The Executive Council announced that the 9/2006 Administrative Regulation concerning the organisation and operation of the PJ will be revised. The organisational structure and the number of personnel will be expanded in order to “keep pace with Macau’s ever-changing society and effectively combat crime that involves advanced technologies or cross-border organised syndicates”, the spokesman Leong Heng Teng said.
The last time the PJ structure was expanded was in 2006. After the revision comes into effect, the PJ will have seven offices and 20 departments, up from six and 12 respectively.
Of the new changes, the existing Intelligence Department will be upgraded to become the Intelligence and Support Office, which will oversee the Intelligence General Department, Operations Support Department, Technical Investigation Department and also the Special Investigation Department.
Three new departments responsible for the appraisal and support for criminal technology and crime scene survey will also be formed under the Criminal Technology Office.
In addition, a Computer Crime Investigation Department is to be established which will handle related cases previously investigated by the Economic Crime Investigation Department.
A Computer Forensic Department will also be set up under the Information and Telecommunications Coordination Office.
Moreover, the PJ will increase the number of personnel from 853 to 1,356. A majority of the new recruits, accounting for 370, will concentrate in the criminal investigation officer career regime, while the remaining 133 will be allocated to the criminal technology, technician or administrative support areas.
The PJ will hold the recruitment in phases and it is expected that the expansion of the staff structure can be completed within five years, Leong Heng Teng said in the press conference at the Government Headquarters.
Meanwhile, amid concerns that the Computer Crime Investigation Department could be a tool to suppress criticisms of the Macau Government or officials on Internet forums or social networking sites, PJ director Wong Sio Chak stressed that the department is formed to ensure Internet security and also to prevent and combat cybercrime in the territory.
Wong said that the PJ will only implement investigations upon accusations made by suspected victims of computer crime, or on behaviours that have committed a crime.
As such, he said freedom of speech on the Internet can be well protected.
According to the statistics disclosed by the PJ, between January and September 2010, fraud accounted for 51 percent of the total cybercrime investigations which stood at 94.
The statistics showed that Internet fraud has been growing and remained the most serious type of computer crime in recent years.
In 2003, the number of Internet fraud investigations was reported at seven, which then jumped to 44 in 2005, 51 in 2007 and 66 in 2009.
The law to combat computer crime was enacted in 2009 and the PJ said five cases had so far been established due to violation of the legislation.