Date
23 March 2017
Policemen are first and foremost law enforcers. Are they still qualified for the job if they no longer believe in the rule of law? Photo: CNSA
Policemen are first and foremost law enforcers. Are they still qualified for the job if they no longer believe in the rule of law? Photo: CNSA

How the disciplined forces have hit a new low

Tens of thousands of policemen staged a rally in Mong Kok last Wednesday to protest the jailing of seven officers for assault on a democracy activist.

Apart from stirring up and unleashing emotions, the protest puzzled me profoundly regarding what ends the Junior Police Officers Association (JPOA) and the Hong Kong Police Inspectors’ Association (HKPIA) sought to achieve.

Fairly speaking, the assembly was a catastrophe.

It was groundless in the first place. The objective of the high-profile rally was to demonstrate contempt for the ruling.

However, the policemen are themselves first and foremost law enforcers. Are they still qualified for the job if they no longer believe in the rule of law?

In addition, the image of the disciplined forces plummeted to a new low thanks to the use of inappropriate language by some speakers on stage.

It is a no-win situation when law enforcers fail to exercise professionalism, which would shake the cornerstone of society.

Meanwhile, making the act of insulting a police officer a criminal offense is ridiculous.

No insult is justified to any one from any walk of life. Setting up legislation for certain people would be discriminatory against others.

When the police complained of feeling aggrieved or even powerless while performing their duties, they themselves should take the blame because of their lax attitude to law enforcement.

As I recall, a few years ago, while the police were closing certain areas in Mong Kok with barricades, a female primary school teacher not only ignored the barriers but also used swear words against frontline officers.

That was absurd. The woman was obstructing a public officer who was lawfully engaged in a public duty.

Instead of putting up with her, the police should have pressed charges against her and let her argue her case before a judge.

When officers are seen to be not enforcing the law, it weakens their authority. Right now, it is worse — law enforcers are breaking the law.

Top officials should take the greatest responsibility for the decline of the disciplined forces.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 27.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

DY/AC/RA

HKEJ columnist; art, culture and food critic

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe