Two police constables in Hong Kong have come under fire for purportedly doing some shopping at a seafood market during duty hours on Wednesday.
Following pictures circulated by some citizens, which showed the officers haggling over seafood items while still in uniform, the police department said it will look into the case, Apple Daily reported.
If it is determined that the officers violated the code of conduct, the matter will be dealt with seriously, the Police Public Relations Bureau was quoted as saying.
The controversy arose as photos showed the two policemen buying seafood while in uniform. They were carrying batons and guns on their waists, although they had no caps on. The incident is said to have taken place at Mong Kok’s Nelson Street, where there are many seafood outlets.
Witnesses said they saw the officers buying some scallops and clams, and that the policemen were also overheard saying that they wanted to buy other meat for barbecue.
One citizen approached them and asked in a sarcastic tone if a policeman is allowed to buy food on the street while still in uniform. The officers then quickly disappeared into an alley without answering, witnesses were quoted as saying.
Social activist Yim Man-wa said she happened to witness the scene. At first she thought the two constables were on duty for some case because they both were carrying guns. But later she realized that she was wrong because she heard the duo haggling over the price of seafood.
The incident has sparked a flurry of criticism from netizens. One person commented that running personal errands during duty hours doesn’t do any good for the image of the police, while another said buying seafood with uniforms on is no different from deserting a post.
Lawmaker Gary Fan said the officers’ behavior was very inappropriate. He urged the police department to take a deep look into the case.
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