Reputations in tatters everywhere you look

The latest analysis from security consultants Steve Vickers Associates blasts the Hong Kong government for its failure of leadership in the ongoing political crisis. (It is also pretty harsh about the disorganized pro-democracy Umbrella-Occupy movement, but of course the demonstrators aren’t being paid to run the city.) The report notes the dangers arising from the authorities’ apparent tacit use of criminal/Triad elements against the protestors, and even warns of a possible ‘ugly premeditated event … perhaps calculated to cause maximum antipathy to Occupy Central’.

SVA is headed by a former cop, and the underlying tone is one of sympathy for the police struggling under extreme pressure, and anger that the government has put the force in an unfair and impossible situation. Newspapers, TV and especially the Internet are currently full of out-of-control (by Hong Kong standards) cops in Mongkok, whacking passers-by with batons, targeting reporters and high-profile pro-democracy figures for arrest, and beating prisoners – all allegedly, of course. While some people might like to see protestors being kicked around, the cops’ mostly uncharacteristic use of violence can only harm the HKP’s long-term public image, reputation and, presumably, morale.

Did the HKP blatantly rig a phony public consultation exercise on constitutional reform? No. Did the HKP launch cyber-attacks on local opposition media? No. Is the HKP flooding Hong Kong with 50 million Mainland shoppers we have no room for? No. Did the HKP artificially push up housing prices to unaffordable levels? No. But when public anger at atrocious governance inevitably boils over, the police are told to clear up the mess, while the Chief Executive and sidekicks crawl under a table and pretend they’re not there. Or as the SVA report puts it:

…refraining from any real decisions and letting the Courts, Police and Bailiffs – institutions on which blame can later be laid if necessary – bumble towards some sort of solution.

On the subject of bumbling: whatever happens, the cops’ reputation can’t end up in as many tatters and shreds as Chief Executive CY Leung’s. In just a few breaths he manages to contradict HKP requests for the public to stay away from Mongkok by advising people to go shopping there – handing the protestors another meme to have fun with – and blathers about curfews. You wouldn’t have thought anyone could manage to be worse than predecessors Tung and Tsang, but he somehow pulled it off. Occasional whispers about a second term sound almost surreal.

But there is another way of looking at it – a revisionist interpretation that sees the Hong Kong government as a victim, just as much as the police or the citizenry. And that’s because the buck doesn’t stop here; it stops in Beijing. The Chinese government picked CY and authorized his team, and its officials insisted on micromanaging Stan-NoNeedCurfewthe constitutional reform process as if they were ramming through some unpopular mega-project on the Mainland, where opposition can be silenced and made invisible.

Chinese officials realize that they’ve screwed up horribly here. We can tell from the way they blame hostile foreign influences. Although officials refuse to name these forces, patriotic elements mutter darkly about a couple of US-funded non-profits set up to enlighten heathen societies about freedom and apple pie. As mentioned a while ago, these condescending do-gooders have indeed hung out with local opposition political groups – but they did so with pro-Beijing groups as well. And now the patriots concerned are admitting it (as well they might, since it’s public knowledge, if buried away a bit). You have to savour this layering of bizarreness upon bizarreness. I’m going to miss 2014.

If God personally picked and announced Nobel Prize winners, He wouldn’t be able to come across as so important as Time magazine with its Person of the Year thing. It raises several questions. First, who the hell are Reed Hastings and Jennifer Lawrence? And second, why does the (I guess informal) poll put Narendra Modi in top position? Not sure about the first (Person-you’ve-never-heard-of-of-the-year), but I suspect the answer to the second is that Indians are the only people in the world, outside of the magazine itself, to still take Time seriously. (He’s their Prime Minister – of course you knew that.)

But anyway, the funny part is that Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong comes third, beating China’s General Secretary, President and Chairman Xi Jinping…


Not in the Time list, or anyone’s line-up all of a sudden, is American entertainer Bill Cosby whose downfall makes CY Leung’s look gradual and sedate. I declare the weekend open with a look back at the long-forgotten time Bill Cosby came to Hong Kong (check out the shanty town) and thwarted an early Communist Chinese plot to extend influence through soft power in Africa. Yes, really.

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18 Responses to Reputations in tatters everywhere you look

  1. anon says:

    “Although Beijing officials refuse to name these foreign forces…”
    1. IMHO Hemlock & Friends seem both foreign & hostile. Which is okay.
    2. But I doubt they are funded by “forces”, foreign or not.
    3. They seem simply to be has-beens, rather bitter wind-bags. I doubt they care a hoot about protesters, or anybody else but themselves. Which is also natural & okay.
    4. Hemlock & friends seem to share just one thing: to see Beijing fall flat on its face. Presumably that would be a return to good-old-days?

  2. Maugrim says:

    While i sympathise with those who’d love to give snotty Joshua a backhander, the HKP are certainly not blameless. As I’ve said previously, it all comes from the top in the form of senior leadership itching for a chance to stick the slipper in, the belief that they are protected by and will get brownie points from the real power, Beijing compounded by the fact that sadly, junior ranks of the force are little better than some of those they arrest. It’s not all Leung’s fault.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Beijing (and by that, meaning the CCP) does a pretty good job of shooting itself in the foot regularly either through ridiculous policy announcements that are trumpeted through the approved media (and then meekly and quietly rescinded) or by doing such heart-n-mind winning actions as persecuting environmental activists and people that merely love the country and want a decent place to live for future generations.
    The CCP offers no good alternative for HK “leadership” and HK has no decent “leaders”.
    Or at least anyone worth their weight and without the sense to step into the fray.

  4. Headache says:

    anon, ad hominem, you are demoted to the SCMP comments section.

  5. Scotty Dotty says:

    It’s a good piece by Steve Vickers Associates. And could be an ominous warning

    There’s no doubt the HK Police have been let down, frankly abused, by the government. But, even so, and no matter that CY is a snivelling pathetic piece of shit, I think we all expected the Police to deliver regardless.

    Back in the day they were superb. But that was when they were run by gweilos and with cross-fertlisation from British and international police forces.

    Now… Occupy has really exposed a lot. Some (much?) of the police violence is way beyond what’s needed. And when they need to look (and pretend to be) calm they often look nervous and cack handed, and that’s not CY or Beijing’s fault.

    And are the police even unified themselves? It seems to be a bunch of competing empires in Mong Kok. PTU doing their bit of street cleaning, in their way, and they get to use the pepper; the anti-triads mob get to play with their batons on their patch; the plainclothes but not really do it their way. I start to wonder if we don’t have a police force anymore, it’s actually a bunch of police forces.

  6. reductio says:


    M’lord I refer to the Hong Kong Blogs Review:

    ” This blog, BIG LYCHEE, is a magnet for the “sour grapes” and “has-beens”, incessantly talking about a people they spend little time to talk with.

    Please Note:
    The reviewer refers to “Chinese” in general terms
    throughout this review, not as any sub-group.
    This current review is mainly pertained to Hemlock’s
    readers who regularly comment in his blog in general.
    We stand by our original review and do not
    believe Hemlock is a racist in any
    shape or form. ”

    I rest my case.

  7. PD says:

    Hemlock, You do have a way with words…

    The decline in policing standards was absolutely predictable — and indeed was predicted in this forum a long time ago. The courts will be one of the next institutions to go.

    As you sagely observe, it’s not entirely the police’s fault. They work, after all, for a morally bankrupt, incompetent and illegitimate government, who themselves take orders from a rabidly authoritarian state.

    Anon, Your cretinous, more or less racist, rant hardly deserves a response, except to say that if you really do think Peking was talking about Hemlock and co., you will surely end up in Castle Peak fairly soon.

  8. Cassowary says:

    Oh gods, they’re going to set off a pipe bomb, aren’t they? Blame Occupy, and gloat because the public will hate the pan-democrats for generations. Boom, instant Singapore.

  9. Joe Blow says:

    Those band-5 kids who joined the police because they were rejected by McDonald’s really don’t have a clue what this is all about. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on them.

    On the other side, when Joshua was taken into custody by the pigs yesterday he had his balls squeezed 6 or 7 times by ‘Asia’s Finest’ while hand-cuffed. So maybe they are scum after all. Did we all see the video of the Senior Super Intendant hitting away at innocent civilians with his baton last nite ?

    It will be interesting to see which grateful tycoon is going to employ police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung upon retirement. Donald’s brother Tsang Yam-pui cashed his loyalty points with New World and ex-commissioner Li Kwan-ha was rewarded by Li Ka-shing. So whose turn is it now ?

  10. anon says:


    Talking about racism & cretinism: have you not (yet) heard that the correct spelling is BEIJING…’nuff said?

  11. reductio says:


    Ooo…Someone’s touchy (which is natural and okay).

  12. nulle says:

    don’t worry…given the family relationship between Donald and Andy Tsang and another relative at TVB named Eric Tsang (short, nasel bald twit of the host on some TVB gameshows…)

    Andy won’t have any problems getting hired as some TV station consultant censoring journalists critical of the CCP..

    That entire Tsang family started as drug lords as Eric Tsang’s father (and Andy Tsang’s uncle Police Commish) fled to Taiwan in the late 1980s…

  13. Joe Blow says:

    I wonder how Christine Loh sleeps at nite ?

  14. anon says:



  15. Chinese Netizen says:

    I’m sure the remaining expat officers left on the force are just hoping their last few years before retirement will go smoothly w/o much more CCP interference or being used as political tools by the fools in charge. After that, it’ll either be fishing, bar hopping or consulting, a la Mr Vickers.
    The Chinese locals in the force are also probably quite eager to see the last gweilo retire so the internal takeover by mainland PSB and PAP agents will go that much more smoothly.

  16. Chinese Netizen says:

    IRT Joe Blow 9:40 – With a large, black dildo?

  17. Joe Blow says:

    Boycott Lan Kwai Fong.

    There is nothing there that can make your life better. It’s a degenerate cesspool.
    If you really want to degenerate yourself, go to Bangkok. It’s a whole lot cheaper and the wimmin are much better looking.

  18. Cassowary says:

    Why don’t you ever ask people to boycott Park & Shop, Wellcome, Mannings, Watsons, Fortress, PCCW, the MTR and every shopping mall in the city? I’m not sure why Allan Zeman is more worthy of hatred than every other arsewipe tycoon.

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