New police chief vows improved ties with public

May 05, 2015 10:00
Stephen Lo (left) and Andy Tsang appear together at a media event marking the handover of the top job in the Hong Kong police force. Photo: CNSA

Newly appointed Hong Kong police commissioner Stephen Lo is vowing to enhance communication with the public and minimize misunderstandings.

Lo, 53, spelled out his immediate priorities after being confirmed by the State Council, China's cabinet, to a four-year term.

He replaced Andy Tsang, who retired after a tumultuous stint marred in the final months by accusations of police brutality during last year's democracy protests. 

Cyber crime and terrorism are also high on Lo's agenda, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

Lo said the police department will be impartial in all complaints, including a controversial case involving the alleged beating of activist Ken Tsang by seven policemen.

Lo praised Tsang's work during his four years as police chief and throughout his long career as a law enforcement officer.

He did not say if he plans to take a different approach from his predecessor when dealing with protests.

But he said their goals are similar in ensuring the security and stability of Hong Kong.

Tsang once sparked controversy after saying the police don't need to apologize for their actions when performing their duties.

When asked if the police would apologize for mistakes, Lo said "only if needed".

“A mistake is a mistake and you cannot pretend it is not there,” he said.

Tsang said one of his worries was that some members of society have a weaker sense of the law.

He described the relationship between the police and the public as "very good".

Andrew Shum of Hong Kong Civil Rights Observer said Lo's philosophy and management style remain to be seen.

He urged Lo to reform the system for handling complaints against police officers.

Legislator James To praised Lo’s pledge to improve relations with the community and called his first-day performance "commendable".

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