A fund established to provide assistance to police officers and their families affected by the 2014 Occupy protests has received more than HK$20 million in donations from various groups and individuals, but it also drew criticisms from people who said the donations were inappropriate and could further hurt the image of the police force.
The APO Relief Fund was launched by several pro-establishment political figures, labor unions and trade groups on March 1, shortly after seven police officers were sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu in October 2014.
Three firefighter unions urged its members last week to donate money to the fund in support of the seven policemen, but several members were reportedly unwilling to contribute because it would not look good on the image of the Fire Services Department if they helped lawbreakers openly, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
A representative of the unions, which include the HKFS Officers Association, HK Fire Services Department Staffs General Association, and the Hong Kong Fire Services Control Staff’s Union, said they just hope members will have the empathy to help associates who are in distress.
The APO Relief fund saw donations reach more than HK$20 million as of Sunday, when it received HK$8.23 million, including HK$457,000 from the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, Apple Daily reported.
Before that, it received HK$1 million each from the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Federation of Women, HK$7.28 million from the Friends of Hong Kong Association, and HK$5 million from the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong.
It’s interesting to note that celebrities and other personalities from the entertainment world jointly donated HK$7,777,777 to the fund.
They included China Star Entertainment Group chairman Charles Heung Wah-keung, Sun Entertainment Culture founder Alvin Chau Cheok-wa, Television Broadcasts chairman Charles Chan Kwok-keung and TVB non-executive director Mona Fong Yat-wah, each of whom donated HK$1 million.
Heung’s wife, Tiffany Chen, who presented the check to representatives of the APO Relief Fund on Sunday, noted that the seven policemen may lose their pensions after their conviction, thus putting their families in financial distress.
Donating money for the seven officers was intended to show that Hong Kong people still admire and respect the police force.
But Chung Kim-wah, an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said police accepting the donations would raise concerns because some of the donors have suspected links with triads while others had been convicted.
Charles Heung Wah-keung’s father, Heung Chin, is the founder of the local triad organization Sun Yee On.
Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu called on the police administration to be very careful when it comes to accepting donations or people might question its impartiality in the enforcement of laws.
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