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Violence prompts retired police sergeant to get into politics

By Joseph Li | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-11-15 12:18
Chan Cho-kwong, a retired policeman, talks to China Daily about his views on current situations and the pressure facing police. [PHOTO/CHINA DAILY]

Chan Cho-kwong, a retired policeman and former chairman of The Junior Police Officers' Association (JPOA), says he is keen to participate in the 2019 District Council elections on Nov 24.

He will compete in Sheung Shun constituency of Kwun Tong district against two candidates — the incumbent district councillor Fu Pik-chun and Mark Leung Hon-kei.

Chan, who retired in April as a station sergeant after 39 years of service, has been thinking about participating in a district election for several months. In the end, it was the spate of lawless and violent demonstrations against the now-defunct extradition bill that motivated him to reach a decision last month and sign up for the election.

Speaking to China Daily in an interview, Chan, who served as chairman of JPOA for six years and vice-chairman for two years, said he had helped fellow police officers strive for better employee benefits.

After retirement, he participated in volunteer services; youth, elderly, transport and livelihood issues are all things he is passionate about. Chan later considered a bigger stage to continue serving the community by becoming a District Council member. He explained that the recent violent protests made him more determined to contest the election.

Outlook on serving

Sheung Shun constituency has three types of housing estates. It covers three public housing blocks of Shun Lee Estate, Shun Chi Court (flats under the Home Ownership Scheme) and Shun Lee Disciplined Services Quarters, with over 10,700 registered voters including some 6,000 people living in disciplined services quarters.

The reason he chose this constituency is because it represents a very interesting mix of housing models. As many police officers live in the government quarters, he may have an upper edge over his election opponents.

"I supported legislative amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance because it could plug legal loopholes," he noted.

"However, the way the government handled the process left a lot to be desired as the chief executive has admitted.

"Similarly, police management could have perhaps reviewed ways to handle the riots better. They could have enhanced the level of force and equipment needed to bring the rioters to justice while warning the protesters not to commit offenses."

Conscience call

Chan, having faced the illegal "Occupy Central" protests in 2014 and the Mong Kok Riot in 2016, said the level of violence in the current protests was unbelievable, excessive and outrageous.

"People who have conscience should not tolerate unlawful and violent behavior," he said. Chan also complained that the heads of the universities are condoning and sheltering violent people.

Having retired, the ex-station sergeant continues to serve JPOA as an adviser. He maintains close ties with colleagues and is fully aware of the huge pressure on them.

He said: "The pressure they are under has never been so great. Apart from very long working hours, the biggest threats they face include doxxing and cyberbullying against officers and their families.

"The duty of policemen is to enforce the law and maintain public order. Our work should be respected and police officers should be free from threats of violence."

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