Pro-Beijing lawmaker Christopher Cheung, a vice-chair of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), has said that police special tactical team officers may hide their identification documents over privacy concerns.

Members of the special tactical unit, commonly known as “raptors,” have often appeared at protests in full uniform with no identification documents, such as number badges.

Cheung said on an RTHK programme on Thursday that the absence of visible identification could be because officers were concerned about being doxxed after dealing with protests.

Christopher CHEUNG Wah-fung
Christopher Cheung. File Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

“You know that details of officers’ family members have been put online, and their children have received pressure at school,” he said. “It is unfair for raptors to show everything [identification].”

But Kenneth Leung, accountancy sector lawmaker and a former IPCC member, said on the programme that the raptors team used to wear identification numbers on their uniforms two years ago.

“I don’t understand why identification numbers have not been shown afterwards,” he said.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

After his remarks sparked a backlash, Cheung said later in the afternoon that, if members of the public wished to file a complaint, they could identify the relevant officer by referencing the time and location of the incident.

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong, also a former member of the IPCC, said Cheung must publicly apologise and be stripped of his vice-chair role.

She said the role of the IPCC was to monitor the police force, not to protect it.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

“If unidentified police officers shoot at protesters’ heads, or shoot at protesters at close range, the victims cannot file a complaint,” she said.

Icarus Wong, a member of the Civil Rights Observer, said Cheung’s remarks were inappropriate for the vice-chair of the IPCC.

“His remarks show that he lacks the professional knowledge to fulfil his duty to monitor the police,” he said.

Previously, Secretary for Security John Lee has claimed that the uniforms had “no room” for identification numbers.

In June, RTHK reported that a second legal case had been lodged to force uniformed police to display their badge numbers so that the public can be assured they are genuine officers.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.