New top cop spells out plan of action

Local | Cindy Wan 20 Nov 2019

New police commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung says he aims to combat the current unrest by stepping up anti-terrorist training.

Listing four strategies, Tang said he will also formalize a manpower structure that facilitates a speedier deployment of officers.

The 54-year-old Tang was formally appointed by the central government yesterday, succeeding Stephen Lo Wai-chung, who saw his term extended for a year to facilitate the succession.

Tang took the oath of office under the witness of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. He told reporters that while he should feel excited about his new role, all he could feel was sadness due to the ongoing unrest.

In an Eastweek interview today, Lo said the force will strengthen interdepartmental training on anti-terrorist operations.

"There is no political training for the force. The current situation is unprecedented. No one could predict that...rioters would continuously destroy transport facilities and attack police officers. They even destroyed their own schools and are coming close to committing terrorism," he explained, adding that the police should also step up public education on disaster contingency and terrorism.

Tang will also formalize a manpower structure introduced in June, a result of police's internal review of the 2014 Occupy Movement and the 2016 Mong Kok riot. The review suggested the Police Tactical Unit operations led by a superintendent were not flexible enough in handling violent protests.

The police thus combined the riot police and criminal investigation units to form six "regional response contingents," each led by a chief superintendent, which allows easier communication with regional commanders.

There are around several thousand officers in each contingent and police are planning to regularize them as permanent manpower structures, he said.

The police also plan to introduce more non-lethal weapons to increase the distance between police officers and rioters.

Last, he said he plans to unite citizens.

"The biggest problem now is that some people in society sympathize with the rioters and even shelter them, making it difficult to restore order."

Tang joined the police force in June 1987 as a probationary inspector and progressively promoted to deputy commissioner of police in November 2018.

Between 2006 and 2008, he was seconded to Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France.

He served as Yuen Long district commander, Hong Kong Island deputy regional commander and regional commander, as well as assistant commissioner of personnel between 2012 and 2017, then became director of operations in January 2017.

Following Tang's appointment, the police changed its motto from "We serve with pride and care" to "Serving Hong Kong with honor, duty and loyalty."

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