Hong Kong police urged to reject ‘questionable’ cash for jailed officers’ families
Lawmaker and senior officers warn that accepting donations from dubious sources might jeopardise force’s image and credibility
Senior police officers and a lawmaker have urged the families of the seven policemen jailed for beating Occupy activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu not to accept donations from businessmen with a dubious background as it might hurt the force’s image.
The remarks came after celebrities and personalities from the show business world on Sunday donated HK$7,777,777 to the fund set up by the founding president of the Junior Police Officers’ Association (JPOA), Maria Tam Wai-chu, bringing the total collected to more than HK$20 million.
Pan-democratic lawmaker and former corruption investigator Lam Cheuk-ting said the families and the force should not accept such donations as it could prompt questions about whether the force could carry out its duties impartially and independently.
“Some donors might have a past criminal record or their businesses may be relatively sensitive,” Lam said on Monday.
“I do believe that if the police force receive those donations without screening their backgrounds, that might jeopardise the image and credibility of the force.”
Lam also added acceptance of the money might be bound by bribery regulations as the families did not take the donations as “normal citizens”, but rather because of their links to the force.
A senior police officer at directorate level expressed the same view, saying such donations could create unwanted misunderstandings which would eventually harm the seven officers.
“We have to bear in mind that the seven were only interdicted from duty instead of being dismissed. They remain in the force while the case is under judicial proceedings.”
An inspector who has known one of the convicted officers for a decade said he understood the financial situation of the families, but they should not cross the line.
“As law enforcers, we should never have anything to do with triad members or those whose business might pose conflict of interest to our work,” he said on condition of anonymity.
Police morale slumped after the seven were jailed for two years. They have all lodged appeals against both conviction and sentence.
Tam and the JPOA’s honorary president, Dr Leong Che-hung, started accepting donations for the fund last Wednesday to support the families of the seven officers. Surplus money will go to the force’s welfare fund.
It is understood the Friends of Hong Kong Association, mainly formed by delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, donated more than HK$7 million last week. Former police chief Tang King-shing contributed HK$20,000.
The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Federation of Women each donated HK$1 million. The Business and Professionals Alliance has given HK$5 million.
The Post could not reach those managing the fund for comment.
A police spokesman said officers had to follow the law and regulations in accepting advantages, while the force welfare fund would follow strict procedures when screening donations.