§ Mr. Cox
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many British service personnel have been charged with disorderly conduct by(a) the military and (b) the civil police authorities in Hong Kong in each of the past three years; 
(2) if he will make a statement on recent disturbances in Hong Kong caused by British service personnel; and if he will make a statement on the (a) damage caused and (b) compensation sought; 
(3) what recent discussion he has had with (a) the Governor of Hong Kong and (b) the senior military officer in Hong Kong regarding the behaviour of British service personnel stationed in Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) how many British service personnel were arrested for disturbances caused in Hong Kong over the Christmas period. 
§ Mr. Soames
On 21 December 1996, a number of soldiers intervened in a fight between two groups of European construction employees who had been drinking in a bar. One soldier was subsequently arrested for fighting, along with seven civilians. I am not aware that any damage was caused by the soldiers or that compensation is being sought from them. Indeed, the Royal Hong Kong police later praised the soldiers for attempting to intervene in a difficult situation.
The matter is in the hands of the Royal Hong Kong police, who are now considering charges against those arrested.
Over the past three years the number of personnel charged and convicted of disorderly conduct—an offence covering fighting, drunkenness, causing a disturbance and disorderly conduct within barracks—was:
Civilian authorities Charged Convicted Military authorities Convictions 1994 18 14 136 1995 7 4 10 1996 12 6 26 1 Records of cases brought under military law, but dismissed, are not held centrally.
Four service personnel were arrested for such offences between 20 December 1996 and 4 January 1997, three of whom are included in the 1996 figures.
Commander British Forces, Hong Kong is responsible for all disciplinary matters concerning British service personnel in Hong Kong. He liaises directly with the governor, and with the Royal Hong Kong police where appropriate. The maintenance of discipline is taken extremely seriously. The British garrison in Hong Kong has an excellent record and we are determined that this will continue to be maintained until the garrison leaves in June.