Anger as harassment-case police chief wins promotion

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2002, 12:00am

A senior police officer caught up in controversy after he allegedly sent officers to harass the 11-year-old daughter of a club associate is to be promoted to the force's commanding tier.

A spokesman said yesterday that Chief Superintendent David Thomas would be promoted to assistant commissioner in a shake-up.

Legislator James To Kun-sun last night described the promotion as 'totally unacceptable' and said he would ask Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and the Civil Service Bureau to review the case.

Although Mr Thomas was later exonerated, Mr To said it was outrageous to see him gaining promotion after the Complaints Against Police Office ruled he had used his authority unnecessarily by sending officers to the school of the daughter of a club associate in January 1999. The officers were said to have responded to a misleading missing persons report concerning the girl's father.

The father, a former manager of the United Services Recreation Club where Mr Thomas was an unpaid chairman at the time, alleged the incident was arranged to force him to resign.

Former police commissioner Eddie Hui Ki-on proposed handing down a warning to Mr Thomas, but the Independent Police Complaints Council said that was too lenient.

The case was then passed to the Civil Service Bureau, which cleared Mr Thomas of any blame in the case in September 2000.

Mr To said: 'I find it totally unacceptable . . . What message does the force want to send to society by promoting him?'

A police spokesman said last night: 'Mr Thomas is an eligible contender for promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

'He has been promoted on the basis of his merits.'

Mr Thomas was among 16 officers recommended for promotion yesterday.

The police spokesman said the actual promotion dates would be announced as vacancies at each rank arose within the force.

The reshuffle is due to follow the expected retirement of senior assistant commissioner of police Lau Chun-sing, 55, next month.

Deputy Commissioner Lau Yuk-kuen is due to have his contract terminated by October.

Assistant commissioners Tang King-shing and Yam Tat-wing have been recommended for promotion to senior assistant commissioner.