28 October 2016
Choi shot himself on the fifth floor of Ngau Tau Kok Police Station. Photo: Google Maps
Choi shot himself on the fifth floor of Ngau Tau Kok Police Station. Photo: Google Maps

Debt-ridden police officer, 52, shoots himself in police station

A police officer is in critical condition after he shot himself in the left side of his chest inside Ngau Tau Kok Police Station, Apple Daily reported Sunday.

It was the second time in two weeks that a police officer tried to kill himself. 

The constable, surnamed Choi, 52, is due to retire in about two years’ time.

Police said an initial investigation pointed to financial hardship as the cause of his attempt at suicide.

Choi was conscious when he was taken to a hospital Saturday and has remained in the intensive care unit.

He reportedly fired the shot inside an equipment room on the fifth floor of the police station.

The bullet went into the left side of Choi’s chest and exited from his waist after ricocheting off a rib.

His colleagues found him lying inside one of the washroom cubicles, with his gun on the floor.

On Feb. 6, Chan Hon-man, 24, who joined the force less than two years ago, shot himself in the head in a public toilet at Siu Sai Wan Market while on patrol duty.

Chan was thought to have committed suicide because of the pressure of work.

There were 10 cases of suicide by police officers in the past 11 years, half of them related to failure to repay debts, others due to work pressure, relationship problems and illness.

Legislative councilor Gary Fan Kwok-wai, a Neo Democrat, said the recent cases were not a normal phenomenon and raise the question whether police officers are facing too much pressure.

Fan said he is concerned whether there is sufficient counseling support within the force for officers.

He said the management should look into the causes of such incidents, especially when a police gun was used while the officer concerned was on duty.

Eric Tung Yiu-ming, a spokesman for the Junior Police Officers’ Association, said he was saddened by the news about Choi and urged colleagues to seek help from the force’s counseling service should they run into troubles relating to work, relationship or money issues.

They could also call a counseling hotline supported by a group of police volunteers without revealing their identity, Tung said.

EJ Insight supports efforts to help people deal with depression and related issues. Here is the 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline of The Samaritans: +852 2896 0000 (or email [email protected]).

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