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Oscar Kwok, former deputy police chief, will lead Hong Kong’s Civil Service College. Photo: Felix Wong

Former Hong Kong deputy police commissioner appointed as head of civil service college

  • Oscar Kwok to take office on July 5, expected to ‘add new impetus’ to strengthening civil service training
  • College was established in December to boost civil servants’ understanding of country’s latest developments and policies

A former deputy police commissioner has been appointed as head of Hong Kong’s Civil Service College, established to boost government workers’ understanding of the country’s latest developments and policies.

Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen on Wednesday expressed confidence that Oscar Kwok Yam-shu would “add new impetus to our drive of strengthening civil service training”.

“Mr Kwok had served in the police force for 31 years and had worked in various management posts, including head of the foundation training centre of the Hong Kong Police College … and deputy commissioner (management) of police,” Nip said.

Civil servants at government headquarters in Admiralty. Photo: Nora Tam

“Mr Kwok has distinguished leadership, management and organisational skills, and aspires to enhance training for the civil service, particularly as the backbone of the government in ensuring the full and accurate implementation of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle.”

Nip also said he believed that with his “experience, capability and commitment”, Kwok would steer the further planning and development of the college as its inaugural head.

Kwok, who takes up the role on July 5, told the Post he was honoured to be entrusted with such an important mission.

“I won’t underestimate the challenge ahead though, and will work with my civil service colleagues and other outside stakeholders to achieve the goals envisioned,” Kwok said.

Senior civil servant Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan, permanent secretary of the Civil Service Bureau, has been the college’s acting chief since it was founded last December.

The college, formerly known as the Civil Service Training and Development Institute, is now located at the North Point government offices. A permanent home for it will be built in Kwun Tong.

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In the government statement issued on Wednesday, the college was described as “a major undertaking” by the administration to “enhance training for civil servants on all fronts”.

“In particular, the college accords the highest priority to enhancing civil servants’ understanding of the constitution of the country, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Hong Kong national security law, as well as national affairs,” it read.

As early as last June, Kwok was tipped by pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Tao as a possible candidate to lead the college. But the government said Kwok’s appointment was the result of a recruitment exercise launched last November.

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Kwok, 57, joined the police force as an inspector in 1990. He rose through the ranks to become a senior assistant commissioner in 2017 and a deputy commissioner in 2019.

He retired in April this year and is expected to earn about HK$270,000 (US$34,400) a month in his new role.

In an interview with the Post in April, he declined to comment on the speculation that he would head the newly established college. But he said: “I am still very capable of serving society. It’s incumbent upon me to continue the contribution if there is a post that fits.”

Kwok also said patriotism must never be compromised in the name of “political neutrality”, which all civil servants must maintain.

He added that being politically neutral did not mean a civil servant could not have a view or stand on a political issue, but they must ensure that their beliefs would not impede the performance of their duties.