Force chief dismisses talk he will be minister

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 August, 2006, 12:00am

'Policeman's policeman' says he just wants to retire quietly

Police Commissioner Dick Lee Ming-kwai has dismissed speculation he will become the security minister after he retires next year, saying he is not interested in any paid job.

Speaking on a radio programme, Mr Lee said he was looking forward to leading an ordinary life.

'There are many rumours. Some say I will go into business while some say I will work for the rich. Some say I'm preparing to be the secretary for security, others say I will chair the Securities and Futures Commission,' he said. 'I'm not interested in becoming the secretary for security because the job is difficult. It requires a lot of political wisdom. I am just a police officer. I don't have much political wisdom ... Not only am I not interested in being security minister, I'm not interested in any paid jobs because I've been working for over 30 years. When I retire, I will receive my retirement payment.'

Mr Lee will reach his scheduled retirement age when he turns 57 in October next year. It's understood he would like to begin pre-retirement leave in January to ensure a smooth succession. Tang King-shing, 52, the deputy commissioner in charge of operations, is tipped to succeed Mr Lee.

The commissioner said yesterday it was a common practice, encouraged by the Civil Service Bureau in the past two years, for civil servants to start pre-retirement leave before they retired.

He said he would wait until the administration made a formal announcement before giving an exact departure date. He had enough untaken leave to have finished the job last month, he said.

Envisaging his life in retirement, Mr Lee said he wanted to brush up his cooking and tennis skills.

'Many people don't know I like cooking. I've taken some cooking classes, but I haven't had time to utilise my talent in the past two years ... A lot of people also know I like to play tennis. I'm also interested in strengthening my tennis skills and promoting the sport in Hong Kong,' said Mr Lee, who obtained his tennis coaching licence many years ago.

He also hopes to spend time with his family.

' I'm in my brother's debt and also my family and friends'. I didn't spend enough time with them over the past few years. I wish to spend more time with them after my retirement. I am just an ordinary person who managed to climb up to this extraordinary position. I wish to lead a life as an ordinary citizen.'

Mr Lee joined the police force as an inspector in 1972 and took over from Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's younger brother, Tsang Yam-pui, as commissioner in December 2003. Senior officers have called him 'a policeman's policeman', and a man who has never lost touch with the grass roots.