What handover? No one told the police website

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 September, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong's police force has had a long and glorious history. But if you'd read the police website's history section - before the force pulled it yesterday - you would have thought it ended in 1997, with British forces still patrolling the border with 'China'.

There was nothing in the section to indicate it had been updated since the handover.

'As the Hong Kong Police celebrates a century and a half service to the public, it prepares to enter the 21st century as one of the best-trained, most highly motivated and dedicated police forces in the world,' the site began in both English and Chinese.

Sounds great, except the force has now been serving the public for 164 years - since May 1, 1844 - and the 21st century began eight years ago.

Although well written, with a flowing and descriptive style, the site was hopelessly out of date.

After an inquiry from the Sunday Morning Post, the history section was removed and replaced with the notice: 'This page is under renewal.'

The section entitled 'The Modern Era' covered the years 1945 to 1967. The latest general history page, 'Creating a Legend', covered the period up to 1994. There were no references to the post-colonial order. All references to the mainland were to 'China' as an entity separate from Hong Kong.

The marine police, apparently, were still relying on the British military in their quest to end smuggling. 'Helped by land-based colleagues, Customs officers, the Government Flying Service and British Forces, these Mariners use captured speedboats to match the smugglers.'

Not only that, but they orchestrated this effort 'from their stately headquarters on a hill above Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront', a reference to the former marine police headquarters that was decommissioned in 1996 and is now being redeveloped into a 132,000 sq ft retail and hotel complex.

The section on women on the force referenced Felicia Wong Leung Kam-shan as the highest ranking female officer. She retired in 1998.

The police humbly replied: 'We are actively following up the matter and would look into every room for improvement. We welcome your valuable comments as well as those from all members of the public and [will] take them seriously in order to improve our services continuously.'

Beijing loyalist Lau Nai-keung laughed when he was informed. 'This is part of Hong Kong that has yet to be handed over,' he said.