Hong Kong police have recently set up a special team to strengthen internal discipline, following reports of police misconduct.

A police spokesperson confirmed to HKFP that they have set up a “Special Working Group on Integrity Management,” chaired by an assistant commissioner of police. The group has started its relevant work, the spokesperson said.

police headquarters recruitment
Police recruitment. File Photo: GovHK.

The assistant commissioner is Oscar Kwok Yam-shu, who oversees the force’s service quality, local newspapers Ming Pao and Oriental Daily reported.

According to the reports, the first meeting of the group took place last Friday and lasted for nearly three hours. The meeting focused on personal appearance, on-duty conduct, off-duty pastimes and police misconduct cases.

Examples of misconduct included the recent arrests of three anti-triad officers who allegedly took bribes from nightclubs reportedly run by gang members, and an arrest of an officer who is accused of causing damage to a police car and trying to cover up the incident.

The management also asked representatives from different departments to collect views from frontline officers. It noted that a balance should be struck between strengthening discipline and safeguarding the rights of police officers, according to Ming Pao.

Force committee

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said in a Commercial Radio programme last Saturday that a Force Committee on Integrity Management was set up in 2009 to promote a culture of integrity within the force. It is chaired by the Deputy Commissioner (Management) and members include officers at the supervisory level.

Stephen Lo (C). File Photo: GovHK.

The committee meets every three months and focuses on four areas: education, governance, enforcement and rehabilitation, according to a police document.

“We won’t tolerate any police misconduct, especially corruption. My colleagues and I strongly condemn any corrupt conduct, because we know how [corrupt] the force used to be in the previous century,” Lo said. “We will eradicate all bad guys.”

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

Last month, Lo disclosed at a media session that at least 30 police officers were arrested last year on various charges. He said he felt “sad” every time an officer was arrested, and admitted that there are “bad apples” in the force.

But the police chief 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.

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