Security at handover celebrations to pose early test
Clifford Lo and Norma Connolly
Security for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the handover in July, which state leaders are expected to attend, is one of the challenges awaiting Tang King-shing as head of the 27,000-strong Hong Kong police force.
It will bring back echoes of his job a decade ago when he was in charge of security as chief superintendent (special duty) for the 1997 Handover Sovereignty Ceremonies.
Colleagues describe the soccer-loving father of three sons as a good-humoured, soft-spoken yet decisive man who keeps in close contact with frontline officers and their unions.
Mr Tang joined the police force straight from school in 1976 and spent much of his early career in the Special Duties Unit before being promoted to superintendent in 1986.
In 1984 he led his 'Flying Tiger' squad in the siege of a flat in Causeway Bay, arresting four armed robbers from the mainland following a gun battle. More than 60 shots were exchanged.
That shoot-out followed a gun battle a week earlier when the same gang tried to rob an armoured car making a cash delivery to Po Sang Bank in Central.
Two years ago, Mr Tang said on an RTHK programme that the 1978 collapse of a bamboo tower during the Cheung Chau bun scramble had been an unforgettable experience in his career. The incident left 100 climbers and onlookers injured.
He said he and his colleagues had to help carry the injured on stretchers to an island hospital and a helicopter pad. At the time of the incident, Mr Tang was responsible for crowd control, with about 150 officers from the Police Tactical Unit.
Mr Tang was seconded to the Metropolitan Police Service, London, where he served as divisional superintendent between August 1991 and July 1993. In 2002, he completed a two-year part-time master's degree in international and public affairs at the University of Hong Kong.
During his time on the force, he has received several commendations, including the award for the Police Tactical Unit Best All-Round Platoon in 1978, Commanding Officer's Commendation in 1986, Colonial Police Long Service Medal in 1994, Hong Kong Police Long Service Medal in 1997, and the Hong Kong Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 1998.