At least 30 police officers were arrested last year for various crimes, Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung revealed on Tuesday.
Lo said at a press conference that the police force arrested 21 officers – a 40 per cent increase on the previous year. The charges involved included assault, theft, fraud, sexual offences and drug possession, he said.
In addition, six officers were arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and three by the Customs and Excise Department. In comparison, 15 officers were arrested by the police and 16 by the ICAC in 2015, totalling 31 officers.
Lo declined to give figures on officers arrested by the police’s patrol sub-unit. In other words, the total number of officers arrested could be higher.
The police chief admitted that there are “bad apples” in the force, but said the force takes misconduct seriously. He denied that there is a growing trend of police misconduct, emphasising that the arrests were isolated cases and “99.9 per cent of police officers” are committed to serving Hong Kong residents.
He added that the force opened investigations on its own initiative into about 40 per cent of the 21 arrest cases, showing that it attaches high importance to disciplinary issues.
Meanwhile, local media reported that an internal audit found that over 100 officers – including high-ranking officers – allegedly used their office computers to browse websites unrelated to their work during office hours. Some of the websites were pornographic or investment-related.
Lo confirmed the reports at a session of the legislature on Tuesday. “But we don’t immediately jump to conclusion and make accusations. We will first find out whether they browsed those websites for investigative purposes,” Lo said, adding that those found to have committed misconduct will face disciplinary action.