Police officers stand guard outside the High Court, where Tong Ying-kit receives his sentencing for terrorist activities and inciting secession, Hong Kong, July 30, 2021. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

By the end of 2022, 522 people had been imprisoned for committing offenses under the National Security Law for Hong Kong and for crimes related to the saga over the anti-extradition bill in 2019, up by 26 percent compared to the previous year, officials from the Correctional Services Department said on Thursday.

At a press conference held to review the department’s work in 2022, an official said that last year, more than 700 persons in custody had participated in the department’s project to help radicalized criminals develop correct values. 

Over 500 of those in custody had been convicted for participating in protests related to the anti-extradition bill, accounting for 70 percent of prisoners convicted of such crimes.

Wong Kwok Hing, the department’s commissioner, said that prisoners participated in the project on a voluntary basis and gave positive feedback about it.

On average, more than 2,600 people had been remanded in the city’s correctional institutions every day last year, up 1.5 percent from the previous year and recording a 10-year high.

There were about 13,000 new admissions last year to correctional facilities, down 13 percent from the previous year. The average daily prison population in 2022 was close to 7,600, similar to the average in 2021.

The department also launched an e-learning platform for prisoners in Pik Uk Correctional Institution late last year. Prisoners can browse the intranet through tablet computers, read different course materials and take the tablets back to their cells to use.

The platform currently provides access to more than 5,000 teaching materials, including secondary school courses, distance learning courses offered by the Hong Kong Metropolitan University, materials to study for public examinations and other learning materials.

The platform will be used in other youth institutions this year, including Sha Tsui Correctional Institution and Lai King Correctional Institution, according to the department.