Hong Kong police officers received a total of around HK$950 million in overtime pay from June to November, according to figures revealed at the Legislative Council.

The sum was divided among around 11,000 officers, meaning that each person on average was paid HK$86,363 since the start of mass protests six months ago. The disclosure came as pro-democracy lawmakers attempted to block a government-proposed pay rise for law enforcement.

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A publicity photo from the police, with the caption ‘Any personal discomfort will not deter our officers from safeguarding Hong Kong.’ Photo: Hong Kong Police Force.

The legislature’s Finance Committee met on Friday to discuss pay adjustments for civil servants. According to a document submitted by the Security Bureau, a police officer can claim up to 60 hours of overtime pay per month, though the request is subject to stringent monitoring and auditing.

The force has been allotted a budget of HK$20.2 billion for the fiscal year of 2019 to 2020, the document added.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her Executive Council decided in June to give senior civil servants pay rises of 4.75 per cent, and increments of 5.26 per cent to those in lower and middle salary bands.

Tanya Chan, convenor of the pan-democrats previously said that 24 lawmakers from her camp and 390 district councillors have signed a petition urging the government to separate the police from other civil servants in the matter related to pay rises.

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Convenor of the pan-democrats Tanya Chan (centre) speaking at the Legislative Council on December 11, 2019. Photo: inmediahk.net.

Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong said that the government threatened to become the “enemy of the people” by granting police a pay rise given public criticism of the force in recent months.

Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law said on Friday that adjustments to the pay scale would affect all civil servants and do not depend on the performance of specific departments.

Law also opposed discussing police pay rises as a separate item, saying since many civil servant organisations wanted the pay adjustments to come into effect as soon as possible.

At the Friday meeting, the Finance Committee – which has a pro-Beijing majority – voted down a democrat-proposed motion to summon police representatives to answer questions at the legislature.

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Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law.

Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui also requested to summon police commissioner Chris Tang before the legislature, but voting on the motion was delayed.

The Hong Kong police force has come under severe criticism since June for their handling of the ongoing citywide protests, which has entered its seventh month. In a survey conducted in November, police received the lowest satisfaction rating among all disciplinary forces, with 40 per cent of the respondents giving it zero marks.

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Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.