Police 'breached privacy' by recycling data forms

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 August, 2005, 12:00am

A Yuen Long district councillor has accused police of negligence in recycling personal data forms.

Chow Wing-kan said he became aware police were using recycled paper when he received a reply to a request earlier this month for a traffic accident investigation report he made on behalf of a resident seeking accident insurance.

One side of a reply sheet from the New Territories South police carried his request, while the other side displayed the personal details of a person unrelated to his inquiry.

These included the person's name in Chinese and English, identity card number, car registration number, time of the traffic incident and the staff number of the investigating policeman, he said.

'As far as I know, the person concerned has not been informed about the leaking of the personal information. I hope the police will apologise to the person concerned,' he said. 'More importantly, the police should ensure [it doesn't] occur in future.'

While the government was encouraging cost cutting, Mr Chow criticised police for not being careful in handling personal data.

A police spokesman said last night the matter was being investigated.

Mr Chow, a former Correctional Services Department officer, said he was worried that such negligence might happen in other government departments.

He warned such leaks could have serious consequences for the victim.

'Criminals can use the names and identity card numbers to apply for credit cards, which could cause the rightful card owners huge losses,' Mr Chow said.

He said New Territories South police officers had told him they were investigating the case.