Officer sues police commissioner in testimony row

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 October, 2011, 12:00am


A police superintendent who gave legal testimony that officers sometimes used their private equipment to record interviews with informants and witnesses is taking the commissioner of police to the High Court after he was reprimanded for the statement.

Yu Chi-hung told the District Court in October 2006 that some interviews were recorded as a memory aid and officers often used their own recorders as police sometimes did not have enough machines on hand.

He was issued with a written warning and told that the practice contravened the Force Procedures Manual. He was also told that as an experienced officer he 'should have taken the opportunity to explain the correct force stance', according to a writ filed at the Court of First Instance on Wednesday.

The writ also says that the warning said his statement 'reflected poorly on the level of professionalism expected of an officer of his seniority and experience' and amounted to misconduct.

The warning, issued on March 17 this year, prevents Yu from promotion and appointment for a year. His appeal against it was also rejected.

He is now fighting the punishment on the grounds that he was giving a factual account as a private citizen, not representing the government. Yu also contends that making personal records did not break any official guidelines at the time, which only outlaw interception of communications and surveillance.

The writ also says it is 'unreasonable' for Yu to be penalised for failing to explain the official police stance and allegedly spreading an impression that the police endorsed using private recorders.

Yu's testimony was originally given in the trial of Chan Yat-chuen, a constable serving under Yu in an investigation over a 2004 acid-throwing attack on the daughter of then-Tai Po District councillor Wan Hok-lim.

The District Court ruled that Chan had perverted the course of justice by coercing the attacker - Shing Wo triad member Ken Chan Ying-kin - into falsifying the identity of the attack's orchestrator, Ken Chan's triad 'big brother' member known as Monkey.

Chan Yat-chuen's conviction was eventually overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2008, though not before he had completed his 12-month prison sentence.