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  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 4:16pm
Column
PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 4:09am

A retreat in political neutrality is a reflection on Leung’s poor leadership

Albert Cheng says the discontent with police behaviour adds to the expectation that Hong Kong may see a replacement chief executive

BIO

Ir. Albert Cheng is the founder of Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited, a current affairs commentator and columnist. He was formerly a direct elected Hong Kong SAR Legislative Councillor. Mr Cheng was voted by Time Magazine in 1997 as one of "the 25 most influential people in new Hong Kong" and selected by Business Week in 1998 as one of "the 50 stars of Asia".  
 

Since Leung Chun-ying took over as chief executive, the public image of the police force in Hong Kong has taken a bashing. The main reason is that, under commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung, the police have steered away from being politically neutral.

This has been clearly demonstrated by some officers' attempts to curtail press freedom at some events, such as by using their hands to block camera lenses.

Other actions have included overzealously detaining protesting university students and taking legal action against pro-democracy activists months after the alleged infraction, as well as standing by and allowing unruly members of the so-called patriotic groups to harass pro-democracy activists.

Unfortunately, all these actions have led to a public perception that the police are biased and have wandered from the fundamental principles of upholding and safeguarding public order and the rule of law.

Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed a widening rift between the police and the public.

First, at a public rally in Mong Kok on August 4, we saw police superintendent Gregory Lau Tat-keung, who was on pre-retirement leave, address the crowd and criticise a schoolteacher who swore at police officers during a separate stand-off a few weeks before.

The rally was also attended by other retired officers and by officers who were off duty. It's disturbing to see our police officers getting involved in such a high-profile political rally.

Then, when Leung visited Yuen Long recently to attend a forum organised by pro-establishment organisations, it attracted opposing sides and they clashed outside the venue. When some triad members attacked protesters and supporters of political parties, the police apparently stood by and did nothing.

These incidents are disturbing. As noted by Jat Sew-tong, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council, public discontent with the Leung administration is being vented on frontline officers. The relationship between the police and the public has reached a critically dangerous point.

As the backbone of our disciplined services and a main part of the civil service, the police force must remain politically impartial.

At the August 4 rally, the high-profile participation of some officers was a breach of the code of conduct of the civil service. The breach was unambiguously confirmed by the Civil Service Bureau in responding to press inquiries.

But last week, after meeting a number of police associations, the police force said attendance at the rally didn't breach any police general orders.

Strangely, the police commissioner and his immediate superior, the security secretary, have still made no public comment on the rally controversy. On the other hand, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the chief executive made clear their support for the police.

What is going on? It's fair to say that there's an expectation of imminent change in the top ranks of the government - the rumoured Plan B to replace the chief executive.

Names of potential candidates have been floating around. The usual suspects are prominent civil servants such as John Tsang Chun-wah and Lam, as well as the outspoken Legislative Council president, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

But lately the spotlight has shone on the rather ambitious Legco member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who has long set her eyes on the post. In fact, Ip strongly believes she is more than qualified for the job.

First, she has deep experience in the government and was once security secretary, in charge of the eight disciplined services, which is a big plus in the eyes of the central government. Even now, Ip is widely supported by the disciplined services.

On a political level, she has certainly contributed immensely. She pushed for the implementation of controversial national security legislation in 2003 and, when that failed, she took the blame herself and resigned from her post as security chief. A decade later, now as a directly elected legislator, she has fully redeemed herself.

Ip is politically aggressive and has made it clear she wants the top job. She is constantly in fight mode, waiting to pounce whenever there is a glimpse of an opportunity. Even though she is obviously not a supporter of Leung, he still had to appoint her to the Executive Council, Hong Kong's highest centre of power.

One of her biggest advantages is her squeaky-clean background - no personal or political scandal. Her image as a loving single mother will also help her win women's votes.

If there is really a Plan B to replace Leung, Ip is certainly a strong candidate.

This will no doubt put more pressure on Leung, who seems to be on the road to political self-destruction.

Albert Cheng King-hon is a political commentator. taipan@albertcheng.hk

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hard times !
Is C.Y.Leung really on the road to self-destruction ? Maybe ! As a Hongkonger who was born here, I would rather choose to be under the rule of this Wolf than the aggressive and tough former secretary for security---the Broomhead Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee who will be too eager to have the much-disgusted Article 23 of the Basic Law be implemented ! Just wait and see how the political situation will develop in the coming months--------whether Leung can impair the distorted society and can really do something constructive for the society and launch the long-awaited political reforms leading to the unviersal suffrage in 2017 and thus effectively defuses the 'Occupy Central' Movement !
hard times !
it is definitely clear that our Police Force under the leadership of the hawkish Andy Tsang Wai-hung has failed to remain political neutrality ! Nowadays, the cops demonstrated to Hongkongers that they sided with pro-leung chun-ying organisations such as the Youth Care Assn.which used to harass the Falun Gong in the territory.Besides, our cops also take a blind eyes to the rude acts committed by the Love Hong Kong Power and Voice of Loving Hong Kong and other so-called pro-C.Y. 'patrioti' organisations Hongkongers' eyes are crystally clear and we can discern right from wrong and white from bad ! When the cops turned a blind eye to the triad members who bullied pro-democracy camp protesters, it symbolized the end of our respect towards the cops in Hong Kong
chaz_hen
Regina Ip is the toughest, most capable man Hong Kong has to offer now. Plus, anyone else worth their salt would steer clear of the CE job like it was Chernobyl!
Another Social Critics...
No One will Not be Biased if they are all Bossed under Position of 'CE'...
Especially that Evil 'CY'...
See numerous Times governmental Officials immediately stand-up to say something Odd, in order to seemingly support that 'CY' & Its Related Group...
Cause all still Need their Jobs...Dare Not to fight with its Boss as 'CE'...
BoXiLai's Incident resembles Much Closely...
To How a City can be Manipulated so Destructed out of its Normal Growth, to inflate One's own
Self-Interest...
Central China Government should have enough Evidences & Proofs from its HK's West Point -
Office if Not be Corrupted Too...
Coming Action in IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL of that 'CY' & Its Related Group...
Social Leaders like Mr. Tung C.W., Mr. Li K.S., Mr. Li S.K., Mrs. Fan & others Celebrities should Have or Already directly Reflected their Voices, towards Central Core of China Government...
No More Chances or Times should be Allowed for that 'CY' & Its Related Group...
Especially seeing its Employment of even Triad Members, not to mention its utilization of Police force, maybe even China's Army, to stabilize HK's Peoples as recalled from Mr. Henry Tong...
Mrs. Lam Cheng, Mr. Tsang C.W., Mrs. Fan, or just quoted Mrs. Yip...
All can be well Better off than that Evil 'CY' & Its Related Group...
That ' CY' Its Related Group will Not be Willing to give-up their Positions Voluntarily...
Only IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL will be Applicable to Them as BoXiLai's incident Told...
Let's Do HK's Good-Sake...
impala
Oh yes, I am disappointed by Leung too. Very.

But if the alternative is the parachuting by the CCP of the vastly overestimated Regina Ip, then please let CY Leung cling on to his job until we all live in sub-divided flats, the whole of TST has been turned into one big Louis Vuitton store and any half-decent school's fees have risen to an ounce of silver plus a pound of flesh a day.
caractacus
Unlike you, Albert, some of us were not against C. Y. Leung from the beginning. You and your fellow thinkers seem to have been anti him just to be seen to be against Beijing's protege. Many of us were willing to give him a chance. Unfortunately, it seems more and more that he is a poor leader torn between the influence of the HK rotten economic elite and the doctrinaire, largely racist, almost universally stupid and vicious Beijing apparatchiks. Our local business elite never gave a damn for country, the people or the SAR, but only switched allegiance out of loyalty to themselves and their money. The political followers are simply adept at kissing the right ****. And even if C.Y. is replaced, we are likely to get someone even worse. Chinese culture all over........
impala
Indeed. I would not consider myself naive and did not have rosy ideas about how Leung & Co would solve all our problems with a magic wand. But I did have hope he would at least bring some form dignity, vision, leadership and quality policy making back to our government after the deep slide all of those took during the reign of Daffy Donald. More than one year on, and Leung has managed to mess things up even more. Very disappointing.
 
 
 
 
 

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