The Communications Authority has received 104 complaints after a fictional policewoman in a TVB drama said she could arrest another character for insulting police officers, Ming Pao reported.

It was in the pilot episode of the new drama series from TVB called “Captain of Destiny”, which began airing this Monday. In the scene the protagonist, a policewoman, asked another character, “Do you know I can arrest you for insulting a police officer?”

However, under the existing Hong Kong laws, the act of verbally abusing or insulting a public officer is not an offence unless it provokes a breach of peace.

The controversial line of dialogue. Photo: TVB.

Netizens blasted the inaccurate line of dialogue and posted about it on the Hong Kong Golden Forum. Many internet users then called for collective action, encouraging others to complain to the Communications Authority as well.

A spokesperson for the Communications Authority said that as of Tuesday 5 p.m., they received 104 complaints about the misleading line, most of whom objected to the inaccurate reflection of Hong Kong law.

Grace Chan Hoi-lam, the actress who plays the policewoman in the TV episode, told Ming Pao: “I know the issue might be a bit sensitive right now… the character said that because she was trying to stall for time.” Chan urged everyone to be understanding and said she hoped they will not overreact to the dialogue and will continue to support the show.

TVB Deputy Director Tsang Sing-ming told Ming Pao that the character was on duty at the time and she said the line to “protect the dignity of police officers”. He also said that he will take note of the backlash against it and notify the production unit.

In 2013, it was decided that police officers are sufficiently protected under the current laws in Hong Kong and that there is no need to enact further legislation to protect them from being insulted. However, there is an offence of “insult” and a more serious offence of insulting a public officer in execution of duty under the Penal Code of Macao. 

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.