HK Police reorganization – it’s already happened

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor insists she has not met any law-breaking demonstrators during dialogue sessions and underscores her support of the police. Beijing has also directly urged unwavering support for the HKPF. So much for Carrie’s earlier slightly conciliatory noises about a possible independent inquiry into the cops.

When police unions bullied Matthew Cheung into withdrawing his apology to the public for the (apparently police-condoned) Yuen Long triad attack in July, it seemed pathetic. Some thought local officials feared a mutiny in the law-enforcement ranks. Since then, the police have ramped up their use of force against the Great Cockroach Menace, obscured their badge numbers, pursued protesters within hospitals, apparently taken partial control of the MTR, assumed the right to de-mask and assault journalists, and obtained a sweeping injunction giving them and their families privileged privacy-protection treatment.

Who is in charge of whom?

Given that Beijing officials have essentially sidelined the local administration, it seems clear that this leaves the Liaison Office largely running things. But it also seems likely that Beijing has already built up more influence within some local institutions than we would like to think – certainly in the police.

We see cops sporting Chinese flags on their equipment packs, and shotgun-toting ‘bald sergeant’ Lau Chak-kei has been adopted as a patriotic hero in the Mainland. The HKPF’s top officers and staff associations are regulating government officials’ public statements, demanding the right to use other departments’ staff and vehicles, neglecting routine patrolling and other crime-fighting duties, and creating new legal or quasi-legal powers for themselves.

After what must have been years of CCP infiltration and co-option, the police management and unions have been activated as a United Front tool.

Not all cops would see it this way; many seem more convinced than ever that they are defending society from evil. And not all are on-side with the rapid transformation of a broadly respected public service into a publicly unpopular and oppressive force. Some purging will be in order as the CCP consolidates control later. The rest of the civil service, teachers and others will follow. This is how it goes.

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20 Responses to HK Police reorganization – it’s already happened

  1. Pat says:

    Yes, exactly. I recall standing outside Wanchai copshop 3 years ago and sseing 3-4 dual registered black Suvs, drakened windows, speeding off from the compound about 7pm on a Friday night. I pondered what they were doing there. Co-opting of course!
    A friend is in the Hkpf mid ranks and has been to several mainland police sporting matches lately. Hmmm. More schmoozing….

  2. Casira says:

    You’re one step late if you’re still debating CCP influence in the police.

    The main problem now seems to be that the judicial has also for all practical purposes submitted. Why would you use the ERO when you can just rely on injunctions (or non-injunctions) from friendly judges, get the same result and shift the blame ?

  3. dimuendo says:

    Why is your first link to an interview with Grenville Cross? He is currently scuttling around everywhere that will publsih his scabrous, hate filled views. He, 689 and Odious are obviously in a competion as to who can be most CCP slavish in mouthing off doctinare, totalitarian drivel, which very sadly will ultimately become the norm.

    As to Mary Melville’s comment yesterday, certainly until recently anybody was supposed to be able to get, on payment of the requisite fee, a copy of any birth marriage or death certificate. It helped families, geneologists etc. Now another right restricted to “protect” the police force.

    I am very old but does anybody else remember the posters for the film ‘ROBOCOP”(?), basically somebody clad in black as though an autonomon. I remember being horrified, and very glad that such a thing did not and would not apply in the UK. Now? Standard gear in Hong Kong.

  4. old git says:

    “Hong Kong’s struggling food and beverage businesses will get the first batch of relief funds under a scheme proposed by tycoon Li Ka-shing’s charity, with HK$200 million to be allocated to small and medium-sized firms by the end of November.”

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/hong-kong-economy/article/3035398/hong-kong-food-and-beverage-firms-struggling-amid

    Since when did struggling businesses become objects of tax-relieved charity? Will they pay tax on the HKD200 million? Will the struggling members of HKPF be next?

  5. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? says:

    @dimuendo

    HBO is currently showing “The Watchmen” a series based (thus far) around the edges the dystopian superhero comic by the excellent Alan Moore.

    In the HBO series, to mark how dystopian and weird the alternate present setting is, a central premise is that all police officers are anonymous and wear masks, to avoid being singled out and attacked after an attack on the entire police force by radical white supremacists.

    As a measure of balance, presumably to avoid total thuggery, the police are only allowed to use their weapons when the chief of police authorises it, unlocking their gun from the holster remotely.

    I find it particularly depressing that even a deliberately dark fictional dystopia has better checks and balances than the actual Hong Kong police, who are today, as part of their United Front Works Dept of the CCP “Hearts and Minds” mission, busily trying to criminalise free speech and FaceBook.

  6. coppypigpig says:

    An acquaintance of mine is a detective with the force for eight plus years. Started out as a plebe and worked his way into his current standing. I remember texting him as soon as the legco mess began and said, “Are you quite sure the police know what they are doing with these protesters?” He assured me of three things:

    1. Don’t you realise that if we are not hard on them, the CCP will run amok in Hong Kong!??

    Followed by, nearly in the same breath, with:

    2. It’s obvious that HKPF is clearly not the ones calling the shots, and that comes from observable data

    Followed further by:

    3. People need to realise that Hong Kong is a part of China.

    For a Hong Kong local boy in blue to readily not understand his hyperbolic contradictions and to willingly push the pro-China line gave me great dismay. I literally sighed and felt defeated. The force is filled with people who are too stupid to know the differences, too couched in the comforts of being a bureacrat’s army to care, and so short-sighted that there could be no other career for them. Hong Kong is besieged on all sides by the ignorant and the dumb.

  7. Mary Melville says:

    Traffic wardens were ‘disappeared’ back in July and now its free for all parking anywhere drivers want to idle.
    These wardens are not security personnel, they are a civilian service that was put under the police for administrative efficiency.
    So what are they doing now? 300 strong they cost around $10m a month to maintain. Where are the green groups? The return of these wardens to the streets would be a worthy cause to pursue via a challenge re their co-option to security forces.
    Alternatively if the administration considers this service to be redundant then the function should be abolished and the burden on the tax payer eliminated.

  8. Not only is the Liaison Office obviously directing the force, but a number of recent reports suggest that the most viciously brutal among them have in fact been brought in from over the border – another clearly illegal move.

    @dimuendo – Robocop had principles – unlike the HKPF now.

  9. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Mary M: I suppose then the good thing is the local kids in black have free rein to vandalise as many shittily parked Alphtards as they wish!

  10. CurMudgeon says:

    @Mary M. It’s not as if the traffic wardens were ever effective. Large strips of double-yellow lined roads are permanently given over to private cars, usually with engines idling as traffic wardens and beat police wander past, oblivious; double-parking has long been endemic, and the police have turned a blind eye to all but the most egregious of traffic offenses since long before the current protests.

    So, yes, send the wardens home. Find them other jobs. In any case, with the government completely hooked on encouraging people to buy private cars but completely incapable of building roads for them to drive on or spaces for them to park in, it`s only a matter of time before the entire city hits permanent gridlock. At which point, we can concrete over the whole lot and – given that almost every civil servant and police officer owns a car – start afresh.

  11. Altum Faucium says:

    Worth a read. This officer is not alone but many like him are similarly trapped by their responsibilities to their families.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/29/hong-kongs-reluctant-policeman-its-not-for-us-to-deliver-punishment

  12. Gerald Simmonds says:

    The local wife of a friend belongs to a Whatsapp group all of whom attended elementary and secondary schools here in the 60’s and 70’s. Most of them support the status quo, and the police, and seem to have no real understanding of democracy and how it is so important in signalling to the Govt what it needs to do in terms of policy etc
    And who was in charge of education in those days? The colonial government. We reap what we sow.

  13. dimuendo says:

    Private Beach

    The “police” in helmets, protective waist coats, with batons and shields, but otherewise in civilian clothing are clearly PAP (or PLA).

    According to somebody who lives in Shek Kong a large number of newcomers came in , maybe two months ago.

  14. Casira says:

    @Gerald: Duh… That’s marxism 101. The reason they support the status quo is because they’ve amassed capital (or at least they think they have) in a society that only rewards wealth. They’ll follow whatever ideology allows them to keep their status and their wealth until they become 90+ years old carcasses. Obviously your options are more open when your wealth is zero.

  15. Cassowary says:

    @Gerald Simmons: My dear old mum who is apolitical and has never voted in her life thinks the protesters are stupid and reckless and should be taken out and shot before they get somebody killed. The irony does not occur to her.

    She was partly educated in America but seems to have regarded school as an exercise in cramming for exams and then promptly forgetting everything you learned.

  16. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? says:

    @Gerald
    A group of over sixties rich/middle class female OAPs, who will be dead when the mainland fully takes over, turn out to be pro-establishment, and don’t give a rat’s about politics: shocker!

    But — and this not remarked upon nearly often enough — they’re mostly pro-establishment only in as far as the current status quo, not what the CCP and their lackeys have in mind: so even the estimated 15-20% of the “pro-establishment camp” is a bit misleading: pro-CCP people might just be 1-2%. Once the CCP bans WhatsApp, as they inevitably will, your ladies may well be the final recruits to the rebellion.

    But cheer up! It’s my experience that the majority of Hong Kong was basically totally apolitical until 2014 (2003’s article 23 was a first awakening call, but only the better educated and political took serious note — as the government caved almost instantly it didn’t become an “issue”). With Occupy, suddenly politics actually started to matter. Friends and family actually talked about politics at bars and restaurants. People started to chose sides.

    This year however, I have actually heard normal working stiffs discussing politics at work (and the police, and how awful they actually are compared to people’s expectations)! It’s a first in my 25 years here and is more shocking than the hypersonic lawndart of the police’s reputation.

    It also bodes badly for the CCP’s thus far easy ride of creeping authoritarianism: people are beginning to realise that not only is politics important, but also they can still play a part in it, despite the CCP’s attempts to rig the game. They can expect a much bumpier ride ahead as hundreds of Hong Kongers start to scrutinise local government decisions and appointments and up: local politics may not be the safe refuge for well connected idle idiots and a hotbed of nepotism it once was.

  17. Clucks Defiance says:

    @ Old Git

    LKS isn’t stupid. He’ll be getting a fair wad of that 60K back in rent, electricity charges, catering and food supplies, internet and mobile phone usage etc etc. he’ll get his cut before the taxman – as always. And anyway, the LKS Foundation is not a charity by any stretch of the inagination. It’s a tax dodge, allowing the LKS empire to invest in its own companies – and others – at a discount. It’s only because the LKS empire terrifies the local media with its threat of withdrawing its advertising dollars that the reportage never states what is in plain sight….and the SCMP is no exception.

    There should be an independent inquiry into all the so-called charitable foundations that these tycoons have set up (or put another way, that the establishment has allowed them to set up). It would spark more riots if the truth were told.

  18. A Poor Man says:

    Seems the po po are busy tonight in a remote corner of Tuen Mun showing everyone that they are now in charge.

    Casira – Wrong, they want to make sure their capital is safe for the next 100 generations.

  19. Casira says:

    @Poor Man: They would die earlier if they gave a s*#t about the next generations.

  20. Hermes says:

    @Gerald, it depends on the education level and location. Probably alumni of elite schools were influenced by the British. My mother-in-law fits into the age category you mentioned but like most people of her generation living in NT she didn’t learn English or anything much at school and only completed primary education. She and her friends only watch TVB/CCTV and occasionally read papers like Oriental Daily. Villagers like her rarely venture far from the village and have little understanding of politics. They vote for whoever they are told to. I guess you can claim this is the fault of the colonial system. But I think their thinking is more a product of traditional Chinese culture e.g. Confucianism. Their attitude is ‘don’t rock the boat’, obey authority, the government knows best, etc. which can be quite frustrating. Needless to say, the DAB does very well in our district.

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