The Hong Kong police’s principal welfare fund has received HK$111 million in donations over the past three years – more than any other disciplined service – including a one-off donation of HK$15 million.
The security secretary’s disclosures to the Legislative Council on Wednesday showed that the three funds maintained by the police force have received overwhelmingly larger amounts than those of other disciplined services in the city.
The Police Welfare Fund received a total of HK$54 million from a total of 1,115 donations during the 2014-15 financial year – the year in which the pro-democracy Occupy protests took place. The fund received HK$18 million in 2015-16, and HK$39 million in 2016-17.
According to the Police Force Ordinance, the Police Welfare Fund provides amenities for the enjoyment of officers, former officers and dependants. It also grants financial assistance to families of deceased officers.
“Officers are entitled to use the holiday homes and hotels under a subsidy scheme of the Police Welfare Fund by paying reasonable rent,” states the police website. “They are also encouraged to join any of the sports club[s] which are subsidised by the Police Welfare Fund.”
The Police Children’s Education Trust received HK$32 million over the past three years, while the Police Education and Welfare Trust received HK$14 million.
The largest single donation towards the Police Welfare Fund over the past three years amounted to HK$15 million. The largest sums given to the two trusts both totalled HK$5 million.
Other disciplined services
The Fire Services Department Welfare Fund received the second-highest amount of donations: HK$5 million in 2014-15, and HK$3 million in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.
In contrast, immigration officers received HK$150,000 in donations during the most recent financial year.
That year, the Government Flying Service – chiefly known for transporting law enforcement, firefighting and medical personnel to inaccessible parts of the city – received only HK$5,000.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said he was shocked that the police received a one-off donation of HK$15 million.
“The public will therefore doubt whether the police can maintain neutrality when enforcing the law,” he said in a Wednesday press release.
Lam asked the police to disclose whether the same donor was behind the largest donations. He also questioned whether the largest donors engaged in a business that could be affected by law enforcement.
Last month, entertainment industry figures attempted to donate a total of HK$7,777,777 to the families of seven police officers jailed for assaulting Occupy activist Ken Tsang. Some of the donations were turned down because of questions surrounding the backgrounds of the donors.