A senior police inspector was arrested on Friday for allegedly stealing tactical helmets and canned abalone from his colleagues in the force’s public relations office.
Wong, 29, who was attached to the police public relations branch at the force’s headquarters in Wan Chai, remained in custody for questioning as of Saturday evening following his arrest on suspicion of theft. He is expected to be released on bail and has been suspended from duty.
According to a force insider, nine members of the same office found their new tactical equipment – helmets and gloves – started disappearing in August. The equipment was either stored in their unlocked cabinets or placed on their tables.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
Earlier last month, Wong, who has served on the force for six years, was said to have also taken two cans of abalone and a camera battery from the office, prompting colleagues to report the case.
“All the stolen items were recovered in his flat or car. Investigators are looking into whether he suffered from any mental illnesses,” the source said.
Officers with the Wan Chai district crime squad arrested Wong in the public relations branch’s office on Friday afternoon.
The force’s integrity has been under the spotlight since 18 officers were arrested for various offences over a span of three weeks in April, prompting the police chief to set up the supervisory unit in late May. The alleged crimes included perverting the course of justice and possession of HK$12 million in drugs that may have been stolen from a crime scene.
In the first half of this year, 26 police officers were arrested, compared with 24 in all of last year.
An Integrity Audit Action Group, which has 15 members and is headed by an assistant commissioner, was established this year to act on complaints or intelligence to investigate disciplinary offences within the force, as well as to select specific units and audit their operations and administration.
The team has so far been tapped to look into six disciplinary cases.
In 2019, a total of 28 police officers were punished for breaching disciplinary offences, compared with 55 officers in 2018 and 43 in 2017.
This article Hong Kong police inspector arrested on suspicion of stealing colleagues’ tactical helmets, abalone first appeared on South China Morning Post