Hong Kong police officers arrested in prostitute theft investigation
Colleagues turned pair in after discovering HK$3,000 was missing from woman’s purse
Two Hong Kong police officers accused of stealing HK$3,000 (US$380) from a suspected prostitute from the mainland have been arrested, a police source said on Friday.
The two constables, in their 30s, were among a team of officers from Eastern police district’s special duties squad who picked up the female visitor in an anti-vice operation on Thursday afternoon.
The woman was arrested for breaching her conditions of stay and then taken to North Point police station on Java Road for further investigation.
A police source said the woman discovered that the money was missing when she checked her belongings before being locked in a cell.
The Post understands the woman did not file an official complaint, and police only launched an investigation after other officers learned of the incident and reported it to their supervisor.
Detectives from Hong Kong Island regional crime unit were assigned to investigate the case, and after studying security camera footage, police arrested the two constables for theft on the same day.
On Friday afternoon, the pair were still being held for questioning in the ongoing investigation, and had not been charged.
A police source described the force’s management as being “shocked” over the incident, and said the two officers were likely to be suspended from duty.
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The case followed the arrest of another policeman for shoplifting last month. The man, 54, was accused of stealing HK$40 worth of goods from a shop in the Tsuen Wan section of Castle Peak Road on March 14.
Police said on Thursday night that the officer was charged with one count of theft, and he would appear in West Kowloon Court on April 26.
“The force will not tolerate any officer who breaks the law,” a police spokesman said. “The matter will be handled seriously, and a criminal investigation and disciplinary review will also be conducted.”
Earlier this year, at least five other officers were arrested in another three cases.
On March 4, police arrested two men, including an off-duty officer, on suspicion of stealing five HK$50 antique banknotes from a shop on Portland Street, Mong Kok on February 26.
On March 5, three officers attached to the Kowloon East emergency unit, who were suspected to have tampered with evidence when handling a drug possession case in Wong Tai Sin in December 2016, were arrested.
On February 21, a 38-year-old policeman was arrested in a Happy Valley police station for stealing HK$8,000 from an ATM. The officer is believed to have taken the cash after it was left behind by the previous user of the ATM, on Fuk Lo Tsun Road in Kowloon City, last July.
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung revealed earlier this year that a total of 29 officers were arrested in 2017, compared with 43 in 2016.