Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam appeals to business community over ‘exaggerated’ police news

Association chairman Lee Jim-on says superintendent’s assault charge had harmed morale within the force

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 10:02pm

Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor told local and foreign investors on Tuesday she was proud of Hong Kong police and that unpleasant news about the force may have been exaggerated.

Speaking at an investment conference, Lam said businesspeople had often told her how pleased they were with the safety of Hong Kong and the professionalism of the city’s police force, especially when their children were out in areas such as Lan Kwai Fong.

“I hope that you will bear this in mind. When you read the news about something unpleasant about the Hong Kong police, it perhaps has been exaggerated. I am extremely proud of the 29,000 policemen and policewomen patrolling the streets and keeping the city safe and making [Hong Kong] one of the favourable destinations for foreign business.”

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Her comments come amid a spate of controversies plaguing the force. On Monday, retired superintendent Franklin Chu King-wai was charged with assault for hitting a passer-by with his baton in Mong Kok during the Occupy movement in November 2014.

It follows the imprisonment of seven police officers just last month, who were jailed for two years for assaulting Occupy activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu.

Hong Kong Police Inspectors’ Association chairman Lee Jim-on said superintendent Chu’s case harmed morale within the force.

“But we will carry on with our jobs to maintain law and order in Hong Kong. Our professionalism will not be affected,” he said.

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A fundraising drive was organised by police staff unions last month for the seven jailed officers. Lee said the associations could use some of the donations received to assist Chu if he wished.

Amid the controversy surrounding the city’s police force, associations have called for legislation to criminalise abusive language towards officers.

Asked if the associations had planned to meet the city’s soon-to-be leader, Lee said they had only met officials from the current administrations.

He said meeting Lam at this stage would give the impression that they are “overriding” the current government.