Top expats to go in massive police revamp

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 March, 1994, 12:00am

A MASSIVE revamp of the highest echelons of the police force will soon see local officers in six of the seven top ranks.


The reshuffle could also involve Police Commissioner Li Kwan-ha, who is tipped to retire this year in a move that will see the appointment of Eddie Hui Ki-on, 50, to lead the crime-fighting force through 1997.


The revamp involves more than 50 changes that will mostly benefit local officers and see a shake-out of all the expatriates at the top level, with one exception, sources said.


For the first time only one expatriate will figure in the upper ranks, but not at deputy level. He is Toby Emmet, currently Regional Commander Kowloon West, who will be made Senior Assistant Commissioner (Director of Operations).


Hong Kong's highest-ranking female officer, Felicia Wong Leung Kam-shan, 50, who will step up a grade to acting Regional Commander Kowloon West, is well-placed to become Hong Kong's first female assistant commissioner.


Mr Li will not be commissioner next year unless ''exceptional circumstances'' prevail and Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang extends his term, which began in December 1989.


He will swap his $130,600 a month salary for a monthly pension of about $100,000, but lose his No 1 licence plate, his house on the Peak and his $220,000 a year entertainment allowance.


The Civil Service Branch said Mr Li, who will reach prescribed compulsory retirement age on his 57th birthday in July, can apply for a final 90 days extension if he remains fit, his work is satisfactory and he is fully employed.


It is understood that Mr Li would be happy to retire at the symbolic conclusion of ceremonies marking this, the 150th anniversary year of the police force. Celebration of the event will start in May and continue until December.


''People decide they have had enough and Mr Li, at 57, is no exception,'' one source said.


His successor-to-be, Mr Hui, the current Deputy Commissioner (Operations), joined the force in 1963 as a probationary inspector and enjoys respect through the ranks for his strong operational background and leadership qualities.


Fostering the crucially important relationship between Hong Kong's 27,000-strong police force and mainland law enforcement agencies will be one of Mr Hui's highest priorities when he takes over from Mr Li, sources said.


Sources said Mr Hui's Deputy Commissioner (Management) would be current Senior Assistant Commissioner (Director of Personnel and Training) Peter So Lai-yin, 51, who would take over soon from Keith Lomas, 57, who retires within weeks.


Peter Wong Tsan-kwong, 48, current Senior Assistant Commissioner (Director of Crime) will step into Mr Hui's slot as Deputy Commissioner (Operations) when Mr Li retires and Mr Hui becomes the commissioner.


The third Deputy Commissioner position will be abolished after Special Branch head John Thorpe, 54, the highest-ranking officer after Mr Li, retires this year.


Sources said that of the four senior assistant commissioner slots, the retirement later this month of Richard Smallshaw, 56, (Director of Management and Inspection Services) had paved the way for another local, Pedro Ching Kwok-hoo, 50, currently Regional Commander Kowloon East.


The next Senior Assistant Commissioner (Director of Personnel and Training) will be Peter Lee Lam-chuen, 51, while Tsang Yam-pui, 48, currently Regional Commander Hong Kong Island, is tipped to become Senior Assistant Commissioner (Director of Crime Investigation).