Three police officers were arrested Tuesday by the Independent Commission Against Corruption for allegedly accepting bribes from two nightclubs.

The anti-graft watchdog confirmed on Wednesday that a police superintendent, a senior inspector and a police constable allegedly took money from the operators of the nightclubs as rewards for tipping them off on impending enforcement action against them, assisting with liquor licence applications, and accessing data without authorisation.

File photo: HKFP, Tom Grundy.

“The arrested police officers might have accepted a substantial amount of bribes in cash and other forms of advantages,” the watchdog said in a statement.

Local media cited sources as saying that the bribes included free nightclub services, and that the clubs may be operated by triad members. The arrested officers belonged to the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, according to news reports.

Nine others – including the operators and staff members of the nightclubs – were also arrested. News reports said the wife of the police superintendent was among those arrested after she allegedly hid the cash bribes in mainland China.

The investigation started after the watchdog received a complaint.

More police officers arrested

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung revealed on Wednesday that 30 police officers were arrested last year by three law enforcement agencies for various charges. But local media questioned the figures as the police chief declined to disclose the number of officers arrested by the police’s patrol sub-unit.

Stephen Lo. File Photo: GovHK.

See also: ‘Bad apples’: At least 30 Hong Kong police officers arrested last year, commissioner says

The police force subsequently revealed on Wednesday evening that 13 more police officers were arrested for “other charges” last year, bringing the total number of arrested officers to 43, Ming Pao reported. These miscellaneous charges include common assault, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended license.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To said that some of the “miscellaneous” charges are criminal, and criticised the police for trying to downplay the arrest figures by putting those charges in a separate category.

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