Hong Kong police sergeant could face demotion over photos of tourist showing cleavage

Mainland Chinese woman was making inquiries in Tsim Sha Tsui police station when officer passed and took two photos of her and posted them in chat groups

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 8:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 10:22pm

A Hong Kong police sergeant could face demotion after he took photos of a mainland Chinese tourist showing her cleavage when she reported a credit card problem to the police on Tuesday.

A senior directorate-level police source told the Post that the sergeant, who is with the patrol unit, would face a disciplinary hearing with possible penalties ranging from a reprimand to demotion.

“What he did could jeopardise the force’s image and leave a bad impression among members of the public. I don’t think that the matter will be settled with just a verbal warning,” the source said.

“He is forbidden from carrying out duties outside the police station for now. We will hear his explanation. We will also see if it is necessary to seek legal advice on the case.”

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The force launched an internal investigation after the sergeant took two pictures of the mainland woman reporting her case at Tsim Sha Tsui police station and shared them in officers’ chat groups on Tuesday.

The photos were later leaked to the public and went viral online.

One picture shows the woman, who was wearing a sleeveless black dress with a plunging neckline, playing on her phone in the reporting room. Another shows the woman leaning forward speaking to an officer who was typing on a computer.

Another police insider said the woman was reporting a credit card problem after she made transactions in the city with a mainland credit card. The insider said the sergeant passed by the room and took the photos when his colleague was interviewing her.

“The woman did not notice that someone took pictures of her. She did not file a complaint,” the insider said. “But we still launched an investigation against the sergeant because it is serious misconduct.”

The woman said she would contact the bank on the mainland and left the police station without filing an official report as no criminal elements were involved.

Recording with any devices, such as a camera or a phone, is forbidden in reporting rooms.

It is understood that top management was angry and upset about the incident. All officers who were working in the reporting room at the time had to give a statement about what happened.

A police spokesman said the force was looking into the incident and attached great importance to officers’ conduct and discipline. “We will handle the matter strictly if any personnel were found breaking rules.”

The incident came two weeks after the city’s first female police deputy chief, Winnie Chiu Wai-yin, reminded her colleagues to uphold core police values and maintain high standards of discipline and integrity at all times.