Head of police watchdog reappointed despite leak

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2006, 12:00am

The head of the beleaguered monitoring body that oversees complaints against police has been reappointed for a two-year term despite the recent controversial leaking of personal data on the internet.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen yesterday reappointed barrister Ronny Wong Fook-hum as head of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC).

The reappointment comes less than three months after the discovery on the internet of the names, addresses, phone numbers and identity card numbers of about 20,000 people who had complained about police conduct.

The move was criticised by one individual whose details were among those accidentally released on a website by an outsourced maintenance contractor.

Lau Shan-ching, who plans to sue the IPCC for breach of privacy, said: 'I think there's no point in [Mr Wong] taking up the job because he didn't do it properly in the first place. It is better for him to resign and let others do the job.'

Although a bill to make the IPCC a statutory body will be introduced to the Legislative Council this summer, Mr Lau suggested the council should be disbanded.

'The council has lost the confidence of the Hong Kong citizens. I think a new system should be introduced instead,' he said.

However, the IPCC's secretariat welcomed Mr Wong's reappointment. A spokesman said: '[We] will continue to fully support the work of the IPCC under the chairmanship of Mr Ronny Wong.'

A spokesman for the administration said: 'The government is confident that the police complaints system will continue with its effective operation under the leadership of Mr Wong.'

Mr Wong did not return calls for comment.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to monitor use of the leaked data, although it has been removed from general access on the Web.

'Police are conducting regular cyber checks on the Web to prevent further leakage and any criminal or illegal use of the information,' a spokeswoman for the Police Public Relations Bureau said.

The leak was revealed in the South China Morning Post in March after corporate governance activist David Webb spotted the information during a routine Web search.

Next Tuesday, a Legco security panel will discuss the long-delayed proposal to make the IPCC a statutory body.