Public servants' illegal action will not be tolerated
Updated: 2019-11-28 07:16
Civil service secretary regrets some staff arrested on suspicion of involvement in unlawful activities
Civil servants convicted of criminal offenses will face not only the legal consequences but also disciplinary action from the government, Hong Kong's civil servant chief said on Wednesday.
Such actions include immediate interdiction when arrested for engaging in illegal activities and verbal and written warnings, reprimands, demotions, compulsory retirement, and even dismissal if they are convicted of criminal offenses by the courts.
The special administrative region government has zero-tolerance toward any misconduct by civil servants, Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law Chi-kong stressed in response to legislator Holden Chow Ho-ding's question in the Legislative Council on Wednesday.
According to Chow, some 40 civil servants were involved in unlawful assemblies or violent activities; some had openly made remarks discrediting the "one country, two systems" principle since mid-June when violent protests began.
Law expressed deep regret that some civil servants have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in unlawful activities following months of demonstrations.
The Hong Kong community in focusing on these negative incidents has cast doubt on the solidarity of the civil service, he noted. But Law added that it was easy to ignore the hard work of 180,000 people who work for the city's civil service.
"At this difficult time for Hong Kong, I could not agree more that the civil servants should work together in solidarity and make it their top priority to end the chaos and violence," added Law.
Law also said the government is studying the need to require civil servants to take an oath pledging allegiance to the SAR government. He noted that results of this are expected to be released before the 2020 legislative session ends.
The government's study echoed a motion by legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee which was endorsed by the Panel on Public Service of the Legislative Council on Nov 4.
Ip urged the chief executive to issue an executive order to require all civil servants to swear to uphold the Basic Law and also to swear allegiance to the SAR.
Under Article 104 of the Basic Law as well as the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, designated officers including the CE, principal officials, and judicial officers should take this oath.
Any officer who declines or fails to take the oath will be removed from office or disqualified.
The rule does not yet apply to civil servants.
Law said he fully agreed with requirements that civil servants uphold the Basic Law and be loyal to the HKSAR.
Article 99 of the Basic Law stipulates that public servants must be dedicated to their duties and be responsible to the HKSAR government. The Civil Service Code also requires that civil servants serve the government with utter loyalty; they must be committed to the rule of law and always abide by the law.
(HK Edition 11/28/2019 page4)