22 February 2019
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo (inset) says the misconduct of a few officers should not be used to cast the entire police force in a bad light. Photos: CNSA, Bloomberg
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo (inset) says the misconduct of a few officers should not be used to cast the entire police force in a bad light. Photos: CNSA, Bloomberg

Thirty police officers arrested in 2016 for various offences

Hong Kong’s police chief has revealed that 30 police officers were arrested in the city last year for various offenses, representing a 40 percent jump from such cases in 2015.

Charges against the errant policemen included rape, indecent assault and common assault, Stephen Lo Wai-chung said at an annual press conference on Tuesday.

Lo, however, said he believes they were isolated cases and that the public has no reason to worry.

Also, he stressed that the wrongdoings of the officers had no specific correlation to their police duty, Apple Daily reports.

When asked whether poor management was to blame for the offenses involving members of the force, the police commissioner said it is difficult not to have one or two “bad apples” from a big tree.

The Police takes misconduct cases seriously, Lo said, stressing that action is initiated quickly whenever problem incidents come to light.

Lo urged the public to bear in mind that “99.9 percent” of policemen are working hard to serve Hong Kong people.

As for the “bad apples”, the police chief revealed that 21 offenders last year were found guilty of crimes such as serious assault, theft, fraud, indecent assault, rape, obstruction of justice, and possession of dangerous drugs.

Theft and fraud were particularly frequent offences.

Lo said that although it pains him to see his colleagues being arrested, he believes the actions are proof that the police force is committed to keeping its officers in line.

According to Ming Pao Daily News, an average of 23 policemen had been arrested for criminal offences in the city during each of the last few years.

In addition, six police officers were arrested by the ICAC last year, down from 16 from the previous year, while around three officers were arrested by the Customs bureau.

Legislator Claudia Mo, meanwhile, questioned Lo about a police internal audit that found that more than 100 police officers had used office computers to browse pornography sites and investment websites during duty hours.

Lo responded that the browsing records are checked regularly and cases taken up for internal investigation if there is sufficient ground. 

In other comments, Lo disclosed that the Hong Kong police dealt with a total of 60,646 cases last year, down 8.7 percent from the previous year and marking the lowest since 1978.

There were about 10,000 violent crimes in the city, down 7.2 percent compared to 2015.

Homicide, robbery and shoplifting crimes were, however, up in number.

In other categories, there were 7,260 fraud cases, 22.4 percent lower compared to the year before. Extortion cases totaled 994, down 27.2 percent from 2015, while burglary cases stood at 2,428, down 5.9 percent.

Meanwhile, cases involving property losses of over HK$500,000 had increased by over 70 percent year on year.

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