A high-ranking police officer who spearheaded the enforcement of Hong Kong’s national security law was under internal investigation for alleged misconduct, police chief Chris Tang announced on Wednesday evening.
Frederic Choi, 51, senior assistant commissioner and director of the police’s national security department, was reportedly found on the premises of an unlicensed massage parlor during the police’s anti-vice checks.
He had been instructed to take leave, said Tang, the commissioner of police. Tang told reporters that he had passed the case to the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau for further investigation to ensure fairness.
Tang declined to comment on whether the alleged misconduct involving activities that broke the law, such as illegal sex and drugs, or if any other police officers were involved. He confirmed that no resignation letter had been received so far.
The police chief acknowledged that the scandal would affect the image of the force, but it would not impact the duties of the national security department, which had been working as a team.
Choi’s case came to light when local media reported late on Tuesday that he had been caught at the unregistered salon during an anti-vice operation by colleagues and was later made to take leave for more than a month.
Despite his role leading the police’s national security team, Choi was absent from activities that celebrated the city’s first National Security Education Day on April 15.
Before this incident, he was believed to be one of the front-runners for the role of top cop in Hong Kong, a position now occupied by Tang.
Choi entered the force as an inspector in 1995 and rose through the ranks over the years.
During his service, he received training many times at mainland Chinese and overseas institutions and also completed two master’s degrees in social sciences, focused on human rights law and public policy and administration. The institutions included Tsinghua University in Beijing, the National Police Improvement Agency in Britain, the Australian Institute of Police Management, the Canadian Police College, and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and Harvard Kennedy School in the United States.
His most recent appointment, made on July 1, was to lead the national security department of the police. The department has made 107 arrests since its formation and is prosecuting 57 people.
In February, Choi received the Chief Executive’s Commendation for Public Service after he was named in the United States’ list of seven sanctioned former and current Hong Kong police officers.
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