Electioneering ban also spurs auxiliary police deputy chief to resign from force Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's campaign for chief executive has suffered a setback after questions over political neutrality prompted a top aide to pull out of the campaign and resign as second-in-command of the auxiliary police force. Mr Tsang's campaign office last night said Lawrence Lam Yin-ming, deputy commandant of the 4,500-strong auxiliary police force and director of administration for the campaign, had quit both positions late last week. Mr Lam has served the force since 1986. He apparently breached internal standing orders of the auxiliary force that prohibit officers from electioneering. Mr Lam, a partner of a law firm, was to oversee the administration of Mr Tsang's campaign office. His identity came to light when he appeared with Mr Tsang at the office on Thursday. Mr Lam is said to be a close friend of Mr Tsang's late father, Tsang Wan, who was a sergeant in the regular force. Mr Tsang's campaign spokeswoman said the office had long been aware of Mr Lam's position in the auxiliary force and had sought legal advice on the matter. 'The legal advice was that he could seek approval from the police commissioner for leave to help the campaign,' she said. But when Mr Lam made the application on Friday, he was told the standing orders expressly prohibited electioneering. It is unclear why he was not aware of these rules. 'Mr Lam has resigned from the force. He is willing to shoulder the responsibility,' the spokeswoman said. Mr Lam could not be reached for comment yesterday. Sources said Mr Lam had believed his application for leave could be made when the electoral office was formally launched. The Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force Ordinance stipulates that conduct that brings the force into disrespect is liable to punishment, ranging from a warning to a severe reprimand. Police yesterday would not say if Mr Lam had breached any rules, but said he was still the deputy commandant at present. A spokesman said the auxiliary force could not be reached for clarification. Police Public Relations Bureau head, Chief Superintendent Alfred Ma Wai-luk, said he was not aware of Mr Lam's case and could not comment. On Friday, the Civil Service Bureau issued a circular reminding all civil servants of the electoral rules and warning them to guard against conflict of interest. The bureau would not comment on Mr Lam's case either, saying its guidelines applied pnly to civil servants. Four types of civil servants are prohibited from electioneering: police officers, information officers, directorate grade officers and administrative officers. Democrat legislator Cheung Man-kwong said a senior disciplined officer canvassing in an election would undermine public confidence in the force. But Local Inspectors Association chairman Tony Liu Kit-ming said he saw nothing wrong in Mr Lam engaging in electioneering. 'Being in the auxiliary police is not a job. We regular officers are on duty round the clock. But they are not. After their work shift, they are free to do what they like in their personal capacity,' he said. He dismissed claims that public confidence in civil service neutrality would be undermined, adding that it was time to relax the restrictions on regular officers as well.