A senior police officer who acted as the field commander during the Mong Kok unrest in February has reportedly been transferred to the border district rather than a key post for promotion. Around 100 officers will also receive certificates of commendation for their participation in the operation that evening, Ming Pao reported.

Mong Kok District Deputy Commander Yau Siu-kei’s promotion to Chief Superintendent was confirmed last November. He was originally due to be transferred to the Commercial Crime Bureau before the events that unfolded over Chinese New Year. However, he has now been transferred to the border district and will serve as a commander there starting Thursday.

Yau Siu-kei. Photo: Inmedia HK.

An internal committee set up by the police to review the February clashes, which broke out over the government’s clearing of street hawkers, will be handled in a mid-term report next week. According to Ming Pao, many within the force are critical of Yau’s direction that night. While some believe that Yau’s transfer to the border could ease the bitterness, others are of the view that Yau’s promotion arrangements should be cancelled.

Analysis cited by Ming Pao said the Commercial Crime Bureau was a key post in terms of promotion, but now that Yau has been transferred to the border, it is believed that he will not rise through the ranks as quickly. Yau, who is nearly 50-years-old, has been promoted up three ranks in the past six years.

Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

A full review of police strategy and equipment has also been carried out and the police are reportedly looking into purchasing different mid-range crowd control tools such as pepper balls and powdered tear gas. Since the pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014 when tear gas was deployed, the political considerations made it difficult for police to use again.

Ming Pao also reported that the police intend to issue certificates of commendation to around 100 officers who took part in operations that night. The list is still being finalised, but Sergeant Wong Lok-on, the officer who sustained the most serious injuries that night, will reportedly be one of the recipients.

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.