Hong Kong police officers up in arms after chief orders station to remove statue of ancient god

Mighty warrior Guan Yu is revered in the force for his bravery and loyalty to his men and is believed to bring good luck

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 November, 2016, 6:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 10:19am

A senior policeman caused uproar among officers by allegedly ordering the removal of a statue of the ancient Chinese god Guan Yu from Kwai Chung station.

Angry messages circulating on the force’s WhatsApp groups accused Superintendent Kok Wai-shing, assistant commander of Kwai Tsing crime district, of ordering the removal of the statue on Tuesday from the common office.

One claimed it was taken from its usual place to the pantry and placed facing the wall, and he was no longer holding his trademark Guan Dao sword.

Many officers from the old generation pray to Guan Yu every day when they report to duty
A police insider

The mighty warrior, known for his strength, bravery and loyalty to his men, has been worshipped by policemen for decades and is also revered in triad organisations.

“He [Kok] said he did not believe in such a thing, and threatened to trash it if it was not taken down,” the message read.

It is understood that Kok’s subordinates refused to comply with the order as such a removal would be inauspicious.

“I believe it is all about religious conflict. Many officers from the old generation pray to Guan Yu every day when they report to duty,” a police insider said. “One should not intervene in someone’s religion even if you do not believe in it.”

Guan Yu, also known as Guan Gong and Guan Di, is an actual historical and significant figure in the civil war that followed the collapse of the Han dynasty (206BC-AD220).

“Two subordinates complained directly to the district commander,” the message continued.

It is understood the statue is now in its original position. The incident could not be confirmed by the force, but another police source had a different version of events.

“The statue has never been moved. Maybe some officers were not satisfied with Kok and moved the statue before taking the pictures,” the source said, adding it was purely a communication problem.

According to the police magazine many officers have looked to Guan Yu for good fortune since 1931 and numerous old stations across the city still have a statue of the god, especially in the offices of district crime units.