Lawmaker aims to block plans for new anti-terror police posts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 April, 2009, 12:00am

Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun is pressing to block the creation of some 100 positions for anti-terror officers in the police force, saying Hong Kong is too safe to justify an expansion that would cost taxpayers about HK$90 million a year.

The move is part of Mr To's attempt to cut the police force's annual budget when the government's budget is voted on later this month.

'The force has said that terrorism in Hong Kong has not shown any sign of worsening,' Mr To said yesterday.

'And there is no big change in the level of danger ... There do not seem to be sufficient reasons for the government to justify the creation of these new posts.'

He said he would also seek to cut the 65 new posts proposed for the force's security wing.

'The work of the security wing is usually classified and requests for information are always rejected,' Mr To said. 'The police should be more transparent and release more information to the public if they want to receive more public money.'

Mr To said he would also seek to slash the more than HK$50 million budget for the Complaints Against the Police Office (Capo).

He said that although a statutory Independent Police Complaints Council had been set up, it lacked the power and resources to do the job properly.

The government should allocate more resources to the council, instead of 'wasting money' on Capo, a police unit, he said.

He is also seeking to cut the HK$80 million earmarked for rewards and special services, which he said lacked transparency.

Staying safe

The security budget this year is HK$30.62 billion

The expenditure estimate for the police force, in HK dollars, is: $12.5b