Fears grow for police officer after call for help

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2005, 12:00am

An off-duty police officer was missing last night despite a two-day air, sea and land search in Sai Kung, amid fears he may have had an accident or been attacked.

Constable Ting Li-wah, 45, a member of the Central anti-triad unit, asked for an ambulance during an emergency call on his mobile phone at 1.30pm on Sunday before the connection broke.

The constable, who said he did not know where he was except that it was about a two-hour walk from Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung, has not been heard from since.

'During the telephone conversation, he told us he was alone and had lost his way. We fear he might have been injured or felt unwell because he requested ambulance service,' a police spokeswoman said. A senior officer said: 'We fear the officer might have encountered an illegal immigrant or an accident.'

A villager told rescuers he saw a man matching the constable's description on Sunday afternoon. He 'told us the man looked tired and exhausted', an officer said.

A search involving a Government Flying Service helicopter, Marine Police boats, firefighters, Civil Aid Service rescue officers, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department staff and dogs was launched in Sai Kung East and West Country Park. About 120 people took part. One rescuer said they had covered almost 80 per cent of the park, going beyond a two-hour radius of Pak Tam Chung. They also revisited places searched on the first night in case clues had been missed in the dark.

The rescuer admitted chances of finding the man safe were slim and said it was feared the man was lying unconscious somewhere. Rescuers were also keeping their ears keen for the sound of a ringing mobile phone, as they were calling the missing constable's phone regularly.

It is understood Constable Ting liked to hike alone.

One of his colleagues at Central said he was a good, polite officer. 'We all pray for his safety,' he said.