Police boss admits he could have handled structures issue better

Top News | Sophie Hui 6 May 2020

Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung says before moving into his former Kowloon Tong penthouse he had looked up whether the building had illegal structures, though he admits he could have handled the matter in a better way.

Responding to questions at the Legislative Council's security panel meeting yesterday, Tang denied he deliberately lived in the home with unauthorized building works and said he will not evade responsibility if there was any unlawful act.

"When I rented the unit in 2016, I asked the property agent if there were any illegal building works and of course the agent said no," Tang said.

"I also looked into land registry records and I didn't find any records stating that it had unauthorized building works."

He said the Buildings Department sent him a letter in 2017, notifying him of unauthorized building works on the roof.

"I then immediately contacted the property agent and requested the owner to follow up as soon as possible," Tang said.

"But I realized no substantive actions had been done, and I signed the rental agreement of a new unit in May 2019."

But Tang admitted he could have handled the matter in a better way - such as asking a professional to check the unit or moving out sooner - since he holds a sensitive position.

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho questioned Tang on the allegations of three high-ranking police officers - including assistant police commissioner Rupert Dover, chief superintendent David Jordan and superintendent Vasco Williams - who allegedly breached land use regulations and had illegal structures at their homes.

Tang said the Lands Department is looking into the matter and the force is also conducting its own internal investigation to see if there are any violations of internal guidelines and civil service code.

On the other hand, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Elizabeth Quat grilled HK First lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching for turning her garage into a room as a part of her home on Repulse Bay Road.

Tang also told lawmakers that up until April 15, police had arrested 8,001 people during the anti-fugitive protests, in which 3,286 were students. A total of 1,365 have been prosecuted and 556 were charged with rioting.

Tang said some people have been encouraging youngsters to break the law for political gain, to which Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting argued was "nonsense" and unfounded.

However, Tang disagreed and said some people have connived with others to foment violence, and there was "living evidence" from a few lawmakers' comments in the meeting.

Tang also said police had arrested a media tycoon and acts targeting police have become worse. He believes such behavior was aimed to scare and prevent police from enforcing the law and all Hongkongers would suffer.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com



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