Monday, July 9, 2007


Just started watching one of the Hong Kong Drama series (i don;t usually watch dramas, i grumble a lot when i do). This drama is about life in the police force. Its called "On the First Beat")..but it is part two. Part one talks about life in the police academy (for the characters).

Part two talks about life in the police force i.e everyday walk on the street, how to get along with seniors and immediate bosses, how to handle citizens. Small small things, the citizen will call the police, there was one scene where one of the main character (Aman, played by Ron Ng) had to help a child get his pet puppy from a roof top, even fell down from the roof.

Some of the scenes showed how rude Hong Kong people can be towards the police. I will not imagine if this kind of thing happens in Malaysia. When police asked for IC, they will shoot back "why u want it?, what did i do wrong? Stand here also cannot? Looking ugly is a crime?" This kind of words towards a police, any one want to try do that to a policeman in Malaysia?

I mean there is no wrong in asking police why they ask for the IC, but do it well and not be rude. After all , they just doing their job.

Anyway, here is an article on Hong Kong Police.

Hong Kong's police force is a handover bright spot
By Donald Greenlees
Published: June 24, 2007

HONG KONG: When Tang King-shing, Hong Kong's commissioner of police, graduated from police training school in the mid-1970s, there was a quaint British tradition here called "trooping the duck."

Its origins are a little obscure and had something to do with a temperamental drill sergeant and the quality of the police parades. But part of the ceremony involved kissing a live duck on the beak before formal dinners in the school's mess, an act that Tang, like all new inspectors, performed.

Recently, the commissioner was invited back to his old mess as a guest and discovered that this peculiar tradition from the days of British colonial rule persisted. But there was a difference.
"When they dined me in at the mess, they still trooped the duck," Tang said in an interview. "But it is now a plastic one because of the bird flu problem."

In the 10 years since the end of British rule, the Hong Kong Police Force has undergone some very visible changes, not least the dwindling number of foreigners in its ranks. But it is a Chinese police force that clings to an odd mix of British customs. Tang's police band still plays the bagpipes.

This combination of Chinese with distinctly British policing characteristics has been one of the keys to the undoubted success of the institution.

It has long been one of Hong Kong's great advertisements that law enforcement and the justice system can be counted on to be both effective and impartial. The 27,500-strong police force is widely regarded as one of the least corrupt and most professional in the world.

At the same time, the crime rate for such a large metropolitan area is very low by world standards. A city whose thriving film industry has won laurels for bloody crime thrillers, including the forerunner to the recent Hollywood hit "The Departed," had a murder rate one-tenth that of New York in 2005.

Other crime trends are equally benign. In 2005, Hong Kong recorded 1,137 overall cases of crime per 100,000 people. The comparable figure for New York was 2,675; in London it was a staggering 13,091.

The success of law enforcement here is often regarded as one of the most important legacies of British rule. At one time, the police force was steeped in British tradition and British methods of policing. Its senior ranks were dotted with foreign officers, almost all of whom were British. Two years before the return to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, there were 756 overseas officers in the force, accounting for about a third of the senior ranks.

But as part of the preparations for the handover, Hong Kong stopped hiring overseas officers in 1994 and began a process of localizing employment in law enforcement agencies.
When the "Royal" prefix was dropped from the title of the Hong Kong Police Force, some critics feared standards might slip too. There were also worries that Hong Kong could lose some of its independence in law enforcement to the mainland.

Expatriate police officers started to leave, creating a gap in some specialized skills. The number of foreign officers in the force is now down to about 250. That has certainly meant some changes to the way the force operates, say analysts, but the impact on the quality of policing has been relatively small.

"It used to be a British mind-set, now it is a Chinese mind-set," said Steve Vickers, a former senior superintendent who started his own risk consultancy in Hong Kong after 18 years in the police force.

He said that before 1997 police officers could work very independently on some sensitive cases, like undercover operations against organized crime gangs.
"Now it's very much top down," Vickers said. But he added, "It remains one of the most effective law enforcement agencies anywhere."

If public confidence is a yardstick of performance, the Hong Kong Police Force has been doing something right since the end of British rule.
A survey conducted this year by the University of Hong Kong shows that 80 percent of people here had a "very positive" or "quite positive" view of the police. Over the past 10 years, those holding a very positive view of the police rose to 20.1 percent from 4.7 percent.

By contrast, a survey of New Yorkers in 2001 found that 59 percent approved of the performance of the New York Police Department. Approval was especially low among ethnic minorities.

The popularity of the Hong Kong police is a big achievement for a force that until the mid-1970s was regarded as one of the most corrupt in Asia. The force that Tang, the commissioner, joined in 1976 had been implicated in everything from protection of prostitution and gambling to drug trafficking in alliance with organized crime.

Shock therapy was applied by the colonial government with the formation of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1974, and dozens of police officers were prosecuted or dismissed.

The crackdown helped turn the Hong Kong Police Force into one of the world's cleanest. Complaints against the police continue to fall; allegations of misconduct made to the Independent Police Complaints Council are down by almost half since 2001.
Tang said Hong Kong's success reflected efforts to instill a service mentality and improve professionalism. Dial 999 for help, he said, and the police will usually arrive at the scene within three minutes.

He is also a strong believer in the longstanding policy of putting uniformed police officers on foot patrol. Having cops on the beat is an old-fashioned idea of law enforcement that has gone in and out of favor over the years as police forces around the world grapple with personnel cuts. Tang maintains that keeping police officers out on the street, where the public can see them and where officers can build closeness with their communities, is both effective in preventing crime and in early detection.

"We send a lot of uniformed policemen and women onto the streets, which might not be the same in other cities," Tang said. "You have an impact. We have more cases where criminals are caught red-handed."

He added that the benefits were also reflected in "the level of safety people feel in Hong Kong walking about on the street in daytime or the evening."

Still, the city does have policing problems. One is the growing trend of crime with links to the mainland, as more and more business people and tourists cross the border. Another is the intractable problem of Chinese organized-crime gangs, known as triads.

Tang said the growth in mainland-linked crime underscored the importance of deepening cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and with the police in major Chinese cities.
"That is a big challenge because you are talking about a trend that is increasing, and the potential for a further increase is huge," he said.

Although Tang has made the fight against the triads one of his priorities, analysts say the police need to do more to infiltrate and disrupt the gangs that control much of the illegal gambling, prostitution, drug trafficking and extortion in southern China.

"I have to say that the triad influence at the top end of society has continued unfettered," said Vickers, the former senior superintendent, who headed some of the most effective operations against the gangs in the 1980s. "It is not out of control, but if not attended to it will become a major issue."

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