A retired Hong Kong police officer has been accused of sending a “threatening” email to an exiled Hong Kong activist in which he warns him about engaging in political activism in Britain.

Simon Cheng, the founder and chairperson of the group Hongkongers in Britain, said in social media posting on Saturday that he received what he described as the ”threatening” email from former city police superintendent, Alan Crowther.

Simon Cheng Man-kit
Simon Cheng Man-kit. Photo: Facebook.

According to Cheng, in the email, Crowther warned him – in an apparent general reference to previous violent protests in Hong Kong – to “not again resort to violence in the UK” and asked “how long the real UK public will tolerate your [Cheng’s] use of UK government funds to spite HK.”

“You as a founder is (sic) a joke especially caught on video in a massage parlour in the mainland looking for a happy ending,” the email read. “I believe you will regret never (sic) ever being allowed to enter UK….you have made your bed now lie in it!” it went on.

Cheng said in the social media post that he “severely condemned the relevant behaviours,” and “urged the relevant party to understand a nature of the totalitarianism which was turning the law into a regime not to protect but oppress the people.”

In August 2019, while working for the British Consulate General in Hong Kong, Cheng was detained for 15 days in the mainland. Chinese state media later published a “confession” video of Cheng “admitting” to soliciting prostitutes.

The former consulate staffer said in January last year that he had cut ties with his family and relatives in Hong Kong and the mainland to avoid them being harassed. Cheng was granted asylum in Britain in July that year.

‘Only a personal opinion’

In a response to HKFP, Crowther said he wrote the email because he felt discontent after seeing the BBC News coverage about Cheng. He said that he thought that the email was only expressing his personal opinion, and there were no threats of any form.

According to Crowther’s LinkedIn profile, he is a retired Hong Kong superintendent, who served in the city’s police force for 33 years. He now works as a chief manager for a security company, Megastrength Security Services.

Correction 15.04.2021: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Crowther wrote “I believe you will regret never ever being allowed to enter UK.” He actually wrote “I believe you will regret never ever being allowed to enter HK.”

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.