Mainland 'vice squads' are warned to clean up their acts

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 September, 2003, 12:00am

Mainland police who drink and gamble will face instant dismissal as the central government steps up its campaign to clean up a force often accused of violence and corruption.

Not only will offending officers face instant dismissal for a first offence, their immediate superiors will also be fired for their apparent failure to enforce discipline.

The no-second-chances approach is seen as an attempt to change the image of the Ministry of Public Security (MSB).

Officers face dismissal for drinking on duty, drink-driving, drinking while armed and for engaging in any form of gambling whether at work or off duty.

Not surprisingly, the crackdown has sent a chill through the ranks.

A young police officer from Guangzhou, who did not want to be named, said that recently he and his colleagues had been constantly warned by their commanding officer not to drink or gamble even while off duty.

'He is making us nervous and scared because the central government is determined to clean up the force,' he said.

While in favour of cleaning up the force's image, he thought instant dismissal was too severe a penalty, especially as it applied to their superiors as well.

'I dare not touch a drop of beer, even when I'm off duty.'

Given that three of the instant-sacking offences relate to drinking, abuse of alcohol is seen as a chronic problem in the force.

Commenting on the MSB regulations, a senior Hong Kong police officer said it was a good sign that the central government was determined to change the force's image.

'Since the mainland has become modern, the police force should too,' he said.

'The MSB should be a people-friendly police force.'