One of Hong Kong’s top police officer has been placed on leave after being caught in a raid on an unlicensed massage parlour.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong’s Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung said he has ordered the anti-triad team to investigate the case involving Frederic Choi Chin-pang, who is the senior assistant commissioner and director of national security.
The police commissioner admitted that the case would undoubtedly affect the reputation of the force, reported the South China Morning Post.
He, however, remained tight-lipped about the full details of the case and only explained Mr Choi would not be involved in any further national security work.
“As his supervisor, I must investigate fairly and impartially. That is why I ordered the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau to look into a misconduct allegation to ensure the impartiality, profession and the degree of the investigation,” said the Hong Kong’s police commissioner.
According to the police chief, the results of the investigation and a disciplinary hearing would be passed to the Civil Service Bureau for follow-up action.
In Hong Kong, running an unlicensed massage establishment can result in imprisonment and a fine but buying service at such premises is not illegal. The incident involving a top officer at such a place might now lead to an arrest but the conduct would hurt the image and reputation of the force.
Security minister and top government adviser Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said the incident showed authorities were capable of handling disciplinary matters “impartially”.
“It shows that everyone is equal before the law, irrespective of whether the concerned person is a law enforcer. But at the same time, we must respect the right of the accused to be presumed innocent. I’m confident the case will be handled impartially,” she said.
Mr Choi joined the force in 1995, and, in 2014 was tasked to lead a security wing responsible for intelligence operations when he was promoted to the post of senior superintendent.
Last year, he was given the Hong Kong Police Medal for distinguished service from the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam.