Policeman accidentally fires gun in his home

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 January, 2012, 12:00am


An off-duty detective escaped injury when his pistol accidentally discharged at his home on Thursday, prompting a police investigation.

Chief Inspector Vasco Williams, who is attached to the marine police regional crime unit, was unloading the Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun at his home in Tai Tung Tsuen, Ma On Shan, at about 11.30pm.

'One shot was fired and the bullet hit furniture. The officer was unhurt,' a senior police officer said. Williams was alone at the time.

The officer said a preliminary investigation indicated that the chief inspector accidentally pressed the trigger while unloading a bullet from the chamber. A bullet is loaded into a ready position in the chamber when detectives go on duty. After work, the bullet has to be unloaded before the gun and ammunition are locked in a strongbox at home.

Williams' pistol had been taken to the Forensic Firearms Examination Bureau, where it would be checked for mechanical problems. Officers from the New Territories South regional crime unit were investigating.

The senior officer said it was rare for an inspector-ranked officer to be involved in such an accident as they were expected to be more cautious.

Junior Police Officers' Association chairman Gary Wong Ching said the type of handgun had been issued to crime-squad officers for about three years and there had been no complaints about the pistol.

Wong said yesterday's case was an isolated incident. However, there have been two similar accidents in the past 10 months.

On April 28, a policeman from the witness-protection unit shot himself in the thigh when his pistol accidentally discharged during tactical training at police headquarters in Wan Chai. The station sergeant, 48, was believed to have pressed the trigger when he was pulling the gun out of its holster at an indoor shooting range.

In April, a retired correctional-services officer shot himself in the leg when the rifle he was cleaning discharged accidentally at his home. He was later arrested for possessing more than 100 firearms.