Foreign police have no legal authority

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 June, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 June, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to the article by Glenn Schloss headlined 'SAR's 'other' police force' (South China Morning Post, May 21).

There is only one police force in Hong Kong, and we take our job to serve the public very seriously. Officers from another jurisdiction have no legal powers in Hong Kong and are not permitted to carry out independent investigations or question witnesses or suspects.

Police forces around the world have an agreed understanding and legal procedure which allows for investigations to be carried out by the Hong Kong police on behalf of another jurisdiction when necessary.

A foreign police officer may be allowed to travel to Hong Kong and be present during parts of the investigation, as an observer, but such officers have no legal authority and will not be allowed to take an active part in the investigation, which includes questioning suspects or witnesses.

As far as mainland police officers are concerned, the Ministry of Public Security has a clear directive that public-security personnel at the provincial and municipal levels will not exercise jurisdiction in Hong Kong and that the established protocols of police co-operation between the mainland and Hong Kong will be strictly observed. A similar undertaking was given to the Commissioner of Police when he last visited the Ministry of Public Security.

It is important that your readers know that any member of the public who is approached for information or assistance by a person who claims to be a member of a foreign police force or law-enforcement agency, should contact their local police station immediately.

We are here not only to enforce the laws of Hong Kong but to protect the rights of the public.


Assistant Commissioner of Police (Support)