The surveillance watchdog said existing penalties were sufficient for law enforcement officers who broke the rules during surveillance operations. The announcement by Azizul Suffiad came despite his strong criticism of agencies for their lax attitude and poor diligence. Suffiad, the commissioner on interception of communications and surveillance, said nine cases of non-compliance or irregularities were found last year. As a result, six officers faced disciplinary actions in the form of verbal advice, or verbal or written warnings. British government report highlights law enforcement in Hong Kong as a cause of concern He did not reveal the law enforcement agencies involved. During a briefing session on Tuesday, veteran Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun had asked Suffiad whether severe punishment should be imposed to create a deterrent effect. The benefit of doubt has to be given to an accused person Azizul Suffiad, surveillance watchdog commissioner He said “fair play” was his prime consideration and he had to be fair to both ordinary citizens and officers accused. Punishment had reflected the culpability in each case. “The culpability could be inattentiveness, carelessness or the [non] compliance could be deliberate with ill will or ulterior motive ... which would require different punishments,” Suffiad said. “There was no case ... allowed me to draw the inference of ill will or ulterior motive. It is a fundamental principle of our system of law that the benefit of doubt has to be given to an accused person.” The watchdog released its annual report last week. In one case, two law enforcers carried out an eight-minute surveillance of two targets, who were inside a car, when they were only allowed to do so in public places. Suffiad said he was disappointed by the incident and slammed the officers for their “lack of vigilance” and “inadequacy in performance”. The contradictory statements given by the immediate supervisor and officer in charge was also “disconcerting”. Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee gets his life back as police end 24-hour protection He feared there was a lack of a mechanism to ensure timely reporting and monitoring of covert operations by law enforcement agents, which might lead to “grave consequences”. The two officers were given a verbal warning, and a written warning was given to the officer in charge. The agency involvedalso revised its action against the immediate supervisor from “advice” to “written warning”. The watchdog reviews interception and covert surveillance conducted by members of the police, Independent Commission Against Corruption, Customs and Excise Department and the Immigration Department. In 2015, panel judges granted 1,428 written applications of interception and refused two, compared to 1,518 permissions the previous year.