The Customs and Excise Department in Hong Kong will be led by a female chief for the very first time following Beijing’s approval of the appointment of Louise Ho as the new commissioner.

The Hong Kong government unveiled Ho’s promotion on Thursday morning, after the Chinese State Council accepted Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s recommendation and nomination to let Ho take the helm after serving in the customs agency for three decades.

Louise Ho
Louise Ho is the new Commissioner of Customs and Excise in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

Ho is replacing Herman Tang, who is currently on leave prior to retirement, with immediate effect. She is meeting the press at 2 pm on Thursday.

“Ms Ho has served in the Customs and Excise Department for 30 years and has extensive experience in departmental operations. She possesses solid management and leadership skills. I am confident that she will lead the Customs and Excise Department in meeting the challenges ahead,” Lam said in a government press release.

Louise Ho Carrie Lam
The new Commissioner of Customs and Excise Louise Ho (left) signs the oath of office after her swearing-in on October 21, 2021. Photo: GovHK.

Ho is married to Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang, who led the Immigration Department before joining Lam’s administration in April last year.

The new customs commissioner joined the department as an inspector in February 1991 and was promoted to superintendent in 2010. She continued to move up the career ladder to become senior superintendent in 2013 and then to assistant commissioner in 2017. She rose to deputy commissioner in 2019, before landing the top role in the Customs and Excise Department.

Erick Tsang
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang. Photo: GovHK.

She was awarded the Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Excise’s Commendations thrice, in 1999, 2003 and 2005 respectively. She also received the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Long Service Medal in 2009 and the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Medal for Meritorious Service in 2017.

Correction 21/10: This article has been updated to remove a reference to Ho being the first female disciplined services chief. Regina Ip was head of the Immigration Department in the late 1990s.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.