And here on a dry day for business commentary is one in the eye for the troops or, more precisely, the pack that is so worried that its daily ration of live meat may be reduced. When your correspondent briefly worked as a cub reporter in Canada he was assigned one week to night cop shop - park yourself in the press room at police headquarters, scan the charge sheets, chat to the duty officer and be loose on your feet when the sirens howl. First, however, the night editor called him over to the news desk. 'Now listen up good, sonny,' he said. 'When the police arrest someone you can say they have a suspect in connection with the crime. If they formally charge him with it you can name him but not before that, not first name, not last name, not address, nothing. And just you make sure you write nothing that convicts him until a jury does. Innocent unless and until proven guilty. Got it?' They were good rules then and they are good rules now. It is surprising therefore to see journalists criticise the Hong Kong police for adopting them and to see the police actually trouble themselves about whether it was the right decision. These should have been rules cast in stone all along. It is bad practice at the least to publish the names, even partially, of suspects who have not been charged. It is particularly so in this society where we still have a hangover of that attitude so common in the mainland that people whom the police arrest must be guilty or otherwise the police would not arrest them. In most cases they are probably as guilty as the police think them but, if this is sufficient, why bother to have courts of law? We can dispense with a very expensive and time-consuming part of the process of imprisoning criminals. Just have the police pick them off the streets, shove them behind bars and clang goes the door. Simple, quick and watch the crime statistics go down. Police make mistakes, however, and societies that adopt this way of doing things have a habit of clapping people into jail because they disagree with the boss man. We have courts of law to protect the innocent and journalists should protect them too. How would you like to be picked up by the police mistakenly for a crime you did not commit and see your name or enough to let your neighbours identify you in newspapers and on television the same night? The police may release you again and even apologise for the trouble they caused you but the damage is done - 'See old Joe Bloggs there? Got nicked for assault. The cops had to let him go but, hey, where there's smoke there's fire, you know.' The pack, that gaggle of general news reporters, photographers and TV cameramen that you occasionally see on the streets, has a different way of looking at things however. The pack demands to be fed and names are high on its list of favoured diet, regardless of how it feeds on them. Gory pictures are there too. Imagine yourself badly injured, thrown out of your car in a serious accident and along comes a stranger callously firing off flash bulbs in your face so that hundreds of thousands of other strangers can be titillated by the sight of your blood and the pain and shock on your face. This obscenity happens regularly. The public's right to know has nothing to do with it. There is no charter anywhere that says journalists have the duty to pry deeply into the purely personal troubles of innocent people. It serves no defensible social purpose and it is pure hypocrisy to cite freedom of the press in defence of it. It actually threatens freedom of the press. It is in cold fact all about making money through boosting circulation or audience by pandering to our baser instincts. Stick with your decision on this names business, Mr Tsang. You are absolutely right about it.