A police officer has been charged with fraud after lying to the government about his marital status in order to keep his housing benefits.

The officer did not notify the government that he had divorced, in the hope that he would be able to keep his housing at departmental quarters. Only married disciplined services staff are entitled to such housing.

A disciplined services quarters in West Kowloon. File Photo: Google Street View.

The officer was arrested on Thursday and will appear before the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on January 12.

A police spokesperson confirmed that the officer had been suspended from work. It said the force would not tolerate any unlawful conduct of officers.

According to the government, the average waiting time for departmental quarters for officers is around one year, compared to four years for those at the rank-and-file level. Under the Theft Ordinance, the offence carries a maximum sentence of a 14-year jail term.

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.