A costly habit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 1995, 12:00am

A POLICEMAN'S lot has never been a happy one even in the relatively well-rewarded ranks of Hong Kong's finest.

A document has wended its way to the Keeping Posted office giving details about officers who are suffering serious pecuniary embarrassment or facing bankruptcy proceedings.

Apparently, the Director of Audit and the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislative Council have been studying the issue keenly, only too well aware that a hard-up cop is a magnet for attempted bribery and corruption by the territory's criminals.

A total of 14 officers were reported to the Civil Service Branch between January and November last year because they were undergoing financial difficulties.

One was in debt to the tune of $900,000, another owed $538,366 and yet another needed $207,816 to settle his bills. All were impecunious thanks to a gambling habit.

Of the 14 officers listed in the report, my heart went out to the poor chap who owed $400,000 because of overspending by his wife without his knowledge. No disciplinary action was taken because he had reduced the debt to $84,130 by October and was expected to make a full repayment by September this year. Perhaps the wife has now fallen by the wayside?