The police Organized Crime and Triad Bureau has been tasked with investigating the head of the force’s national security department Frederic Choi over his presence at an unlicensed massage parlour, Hong Kong Commissioner of Police Chris Tang has said. He added that he would not be stepping down as police chief.

Chris Tang. Photo: Studio Incendo.

Having the organised crime bureau undertake the internal probe on alleged misconduct committed by Director of National Security Frederic Choi “is to ensure that the investigation will be fair, just, in-depth and professional,” Tang told reporters during a briefing on Wednesday.

Choi was placed on leave after he was allegedly found in an unlicensed massage parlour during a police raid, a spokesperson for the force told HKFP on Wednesday.

Choi has reportedly been on leave for close to a month before the incident was disclosed by local media on Tuesday night.

‘Fair and just’ investigation

Reporters asked whether Choi was placed on leave as early as National Security Education Day in mid-April, since he was not seen publicly during the event, Tang refused to disclose details such as when and where the raid took place, or whether Choi was involved in receiving sexual services, citing an ongoing investigation. He also denied concealing the incident from the public eye during this period.

Frederic Choi police
Frederic Choi. Photo: Hong Kong police.

Tang said he will not resign from his post as head of the police force, in response to a reporter’s question over whether he should do so out of accountability as Choi’s superior.

Tang said that some people may want him to quit because he is so “just” in dealing with criminals and that “my work on national security has restricted their space [to commit crime]. I will not let them have this opportunity.”

Choi has also not tendered his resignation, he said.

chris tang addressing frederic choi scandal police headquarters
Chris Tang. Photo: Studio Incendo.

“I will conduct this investigation fairly and justly,” Tang said, adding there may have been reputational damage. “If it is found that I had made any mistakes, I will bear all responsibility in accordance with the law.”

“Allegations against a high-level police officer will have some effect on the police force but it will not affect our work on national security.”

Findings of the probe will be passed onto the Civil Service Bureau, in accordance with protocol, and not to the Independent Police Complaints Council, Tang said. The case against Choi is internal to the police and so does not involve China’s Office to Safeguard National Security in Hong Kong, he said.

“I would like to reiterate that the police are very concerned by our colleague’s professional conduct. When there are allegations of inappropriate conduct, we will investigate in accordance with the existing mechanism,” Tang said.

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Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.