Recording what people say is not a criminal offence and the University of Hong Kong’s decision to request a police investigation into a leaked audio recording of a council meeting is questionable, an HKU principal law lecturer said. Eric Cheung Tat-ming’s comments came after the leak yesterday of a recording of council member Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung discussing the promotion of liberal scholar Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun to a key managerial post during a council meeting in September. But citing an earlier leak of the university's research assessment results, which was used by a pro-Beijing newspaper to attack Chan, HKU president Peter Mathieson said yesterday any breach of confidentiality was not acceptable and defended the decision to call police. He said it would be up to police to decide whether a criminal offence was involved and if making the report was a waste of resources. READ MORE: Police asked to investigate HKU audio leak: outrage over comments made about Johannes Chan "[The assessment results] were made available to media sources before I'd even seen them as one of the university presidents," said Mathieson. "That makes my job very difficult. So this kind of lack of confidentiality does compromise functions. And I think it's deplorable." In the leaked recording, Li was heard criticising Chan for not having a doctorate degree and speculating that he was being pushed by political parties as the university's "party secretary". The council later rejected Chan's appointment. The university reported the leak to police on Wednesday. The case was classified as a request for police investigation, which is being followed up by the Western district crime squad. Cheung, a former member of the Independent Police Complaints Council, said it would be too far-fetched to invoke the offence of dishonest use of a computer. "Otherwise would anyone who uses a phone to record something be convicted of the offence?" Cheung asked. "I hope the police will stand firm on their professional standards and not pursue something which is not criminal in nature." An HKU spokeswoman said the university called police due to concerns over whether the meeting room or the microphones had been bugged. Mathieson said the lack of respect for confidentiality had existed long before the leak of the recording, citing the leak of the results of the University Grants Committee assessment exercise as an example.