Hong Kong's police chiefs have declined to take action over a Facebook group set up by lesbian and bisexual members of the police force that uses the official police crest, and say they have no problem with anyone joining the organisation.
Presenting itself as the Hong Kong Police Lesbian and Bi-Female Association, the group's page is adorned with the official police emblem and listed under the category 'Organisations - Clubs and Societies'.
'The so-called Hong Kong Police Lesbian and Bi-Female Association on Facebook is not a police association as recognised by the Commissioner under the Police Force Ordinance,' a police spokesman confirmed. 'But the force respects the sexual preference of its members, and protects their rights to privacy.'
The police response will be seen as a step in the right direction by the city's gay community, following actions taken by police in May that caused a stir when about 200 people gathered in Causeway Bay to mark the 7th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The police stopped a dance that was part of the programme as the group did not have an entertainment licence.
The gathering, which police then filmed, was held in the pedestrian area of East Point Road, Causeway Bay. Among the guests were the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Lam Woon-kwong, and lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan.
Afterwards, police were accused by gay rights groups of having 'blatantly violated the constitutional rights of a group of Hong Kong citizens'.
The Facebook organisation describes itself as: 'A group for all the lesbians and bi-sexual/bi-curious females of the Hong Kong Police Force, serving or retired.' Its office address is given only as Causeway Bay. The officers are listed as Michelle Wong, chairwoman; Mandy Ng, New Territories east representative; and Hung Oi Ping, New Territories west representative. Wong lists the Hong Kong Police Force as her employer from November 1993 until the present, revealing her rank as that of constable.
'The title says it all! I deal with thieves, triads, murderers, rapists, paedophile scum, dickheads, con artists, corruption, robbers, muggers and illegal immigrants ... law enforcement with Hong Kong's finest!' she declares on the Facebook page.