Police have confirmed that a constable who allegedly took HK$5,000 from the wallets of two men during a routine stop-and-search operation in Sham Shui Po has been arrested for theft. The incident occurred in April but the arrest was made only on Thursday. The constable stopped the two men in Kweilin Street and asked them to hand over their identity cards. He also searched their wallets. The two men said they found out a few minutes later that one of them had lost HK$2,000 and the other HK$3,000. The pair contacted police and the constable was searched, but no evidence was found. However, he was arrested last week after more evidence was obtained. No details were given, but officers said the constable had money problems. 'He was released on HK$10,000 police bail and the Kowloon West regional crime squad is investigating the case,' a police spokesman said yesterday. A separate incident occurred on March 2 when a couple handed a wallet they had found to an officer outside Hung Hom police station. They wanted to hand it in as a lost item. However, the officer said he would take care of the matter and took the wallet from them. Earlier this month, this officer pleaded guilty in court to taking the wallet and its contents, and is awaiting sentencing. The chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association, Chung Kam-wah, feared that such incidents would damage the image of the force. 'It is sad that there are some bad elements inside the force,' he said. 'But on the other hand we can see from these cases that the force has zero tolerance for such illegal behaviour and will try its best to eliminate it.' He said police officers were issued clear guidelines about their financial responsibilities. 'It means we cannot have debts so high they affect our livelihoods,' Mr Chung said. The force would help officers with financial difficulties, he said. The deputy chairman of the Legislative Council's security panel, James To Kun-sun, said he believed the problem of indebtedness among police was serious but that cases of theft were not common.