After coming under fire for suspected theft of bail money by one of its sergeants earlier this month, the Wan Chai Police Station is now facing questions over its response to the incident.
An elderly man who was one of the victims of the bail money theft has claimed that he was told by an officer that the police station cannot be held liable for the missing money.
The man, who bears the surname Liu, said he received the information when he went to the police station late Wednesday for bail extension in connection with a commercial case he was involved in.
He claimed that an officer gave him documents to sign, without mentioning that they were related to a waiver of claims in relation to the bail money he had posted previously.
Liu, who is in his 70s, said he signed the papers, only to realize later that he had given away his rights over the money that has gone missing.
After leaving the station, Liu complained to the media that he received unfair treatment, and that the police station’s move was tantamount to robbery.
The matter has caused concern among lawmakers as well as the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), a body that deals with complaints against the police.
The Wan Chai Police Station has yet to disclose how many people fell victim to the theft that took place on May 1, when a police sergeant disappeared with HK$1.07 million (US$140,000) in bail money funds kept at the station.
Station authorities promised to refer the case to the Department of Justice for recovering the stolen bail money through legal procedures.
However, the justice department claimed that it had not been approached yet, and that it will have to gather more information from the police before any decision is made, according to the Apple Daily report.
IPCC members Ip Shing-hing and Helena Wong Pik-wan said the police should definitely be held liable for compensating victims of the theft as the bail money was stolen in a police station.
It is not right to ask victims to waive their rights for return of the money, they said.
The police officer who dealt with Liu on Wednesday may be guilty of abuse of power, Wong said, urging the elderly victim to take his grievance to the Complaints Against Police Organization (CAPO).
Ming Pao Daily quoted Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun as saying that the police officer’s treatment of Liu was wrong and that it can be deemed as a serious case of abuse of power.
The police must initiate disciplinary proceedings against the officer and the police commissioner must issue an open apology, To said.
Following the May 1 theft, police are still hunting for the suspect, a 43-year-old sergeant surnamed Cheung.
It is suspected that the officer may have fled to Macau.
Police sergeant vanishes, HK$1 mln in bail money missing (May 3, 2016)
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