A former deputy commissioner of the Customs and Excise Department will become the new secretary-general of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), according to sources cited by reports.

Richard Yu Koon-hing, 57, will be the new secretary-general, and the appointment could be announced by the end of the month, according to a member cited anonymously by Apple Daily.

The member said Yu was experienced in law enforcement, but since Customs and the police are both under the Security Bureau, the member questioned whether Yu would be fair in handling complaints against police, as he may have sympathies for police officers.

Richard Yu Koon-hing. File

The incumbent secretary-general Chu Man-kin was a former Assistant Director of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Chu will be on final holiday leave by December.

Chu was reported to have clashed with the IPCC’s chairman Larry Kwok Lam-kwong over the alleged beating of pedestrians by former police commander Frankly Chu King-wai during the pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Edwin Cheng Shing-lung, a former IPCC member, told Apple Daily that a former customs deputy commissioner taking the post may not create a good public perception, as the customs and the police were often on good terms, while Chu was from the corruption watchdog.

He said he hoped the IPCC could be more transparent when dealing with cases after Yu took the post.

Chu Man-kin (left) and Larry Kwok Lam-kwong (right). File

The newspaper reported that Yu was once temporarily transferred to the Financial Secretary’s office to help with drafting the annual budget, a rare move in the service suggesting that Yu was seen as a star official.

Yu retired from Customs early this year. A customs officer cited by the newspaper said Yu was practical, fair, and caring of the officers at the department, but he could not be promoted to commissioner due to his age.

Another anonymous member cited by RTHK said Chu Man-kin had not applied for the job, and Yu was an appropriate choice.

The member told the public broadcaster that the selection process was serious and careful, and that people should not question whether Yu would be fair in handling complaints before he came to office. The member added that Yu’s professional ethics should be trusted.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.