Officer quitting to join Occupy rallies 'boosts auxiliary police morale'
Auxiliary police officers say an incident last week in which one of their colleagues quit to join the Occupy protests has boosted their morale and brought the team even closer together.
Speaking to the press in an arranged interview at the police headquarters in Wan Chai yesterday, officers denied members of the team were split over the force's purported use of violence in handling the Occupy protesters, and maintained that they were politically neutral.
"The officer was a one-off case," auxiliary sergeant Ng Shui-kit said, referring to Joe Yeung Yat-long, an auxiliary policeman turned Occupy protester. "His actions didn't cause morale to go down. Rather, I'd say it has boosted our morale."
Yeung made headlines last Sunday when he was seen shaking hands with a police officer to seal a supposed agreement in which protesters would stop blocking a section of Lung Wo Road near Tim Wa Avenue, which is the main access to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's office in Admiralty.
Internet users dug out Yeung's background as a member of the auxiliary police force soon after he appeared on television, following which protesters accused him of spying for the police. Yeung then revealed that he had resigned from the force after being upset over the way police handled the protests.
But police said on Monday that Yeung had been suspended from duty and was under disciplinary investigation for failing to complete resignation procedures. Officers said he informed his commander of his decision to quit only verbally and failed to provide written notification.
Two other officers - PC Lee Pui-ying, who worked in Central last week, and Inspector Kwong Yee-fai, who was stationed in Mong Kok during the clashes - said being on duty during the protests had united the force even more. Auxiliary forces were being called up more frequently, with an extra 60 to 80 officers stationed in Wan Chai, Central and Mong Kok each day, they said.
Lee, 22, a third-year student at Baptist University, said her classmates, including those with different political stances, did not pressurise her, and even encouraged her in her duties.
"We were taught from the very beginning that we have to refrain from all political stances and stay neutral," she said.
Kwong, defending the use of tear gas and pepper spray on protesters, said:"I completely respect the decisions made by the officers in charge on the day tear gas was used. I'm sure they followed the guidelines."