29 February 2020
Stephen Lo (left) was granted  a rare meeting with Meng Jianzhu in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
Stephen Lo (left) was granted a rare meeting with Meng Jianzhu in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

HK police chief meeting with China security boss a ‘danger’ sign

Hong Kong police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung’s meeting Tuesday with Meng Jianzhu, China’s security chief, was a “danger” sign, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday, quoting a veteran political commentator.

The meeting was set up on Tuesday without informing media. Xinhua reported on it later in the day.

Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a China watcher in Hong Kong, said such a meeting was clearly a favor granted by Beijing.

It was not a good sign but a signal of danger, suggesting that Beijing may impose special demands and pressure on Hong Kong’s police force, Lau said.

Meng, secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China and chairman of the Central Commission for the Comprehensive Management of Public Security, congratulated Lo on his promotion.

His deputy, Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun, was also present at the rare meeting.

Meng said he hoped Lo can lead the force to maintain the stability of Hong Kong society and fight cross-border crime in a joint effort with its mainland counterparts, Xinhua said.

Lo’s precedessor, Andy Tsang Wai-hung, who retired May 4, was received by Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, after Tsang became police chief in September 2013.

It was widely speculated at the time that the meeting was related to the then-incubating Occupy movement.

Lau said the fact that Lo, as Hong Kong’s police chief, went over his supervisors’ head to meet senior officials in Beijing was a sign of both appreciation and demands on the part of the Communist Party.

He said Beijing might intentionally try to blur the line between a political party and a government department.

Lo, who also met with Wang Guangya, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, earlier Tuesday, said his trip to Beijing was only to pay courtesy calls.

He declined to answer questions regarding how the police are preparing to cope with potential demonstrations when the Legislative Council votes on the electoral reform package next month.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong media discovered Tuesday that Chief Fire Officer David Lai Man-hin led a delegation on a visit to Beijing for four days from May 17, but the fire department did not give media advance notice.

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