Civil servants' pension threat gains traction

Local | Wallis Wang 29 Jun 2021

Support to punish "naughty" retired civil servants is gaining traction, with a senior government officers association agreeing with updating a declaration to stop national security offenders from continuing to receive their pensions.

Lee Fong-chung, chairman of the Hong Kong Senior Government Officers Association, said there should be a discussion on whether the declaration that retired civil servants sign every year should be linked to the security law.

He said that in support of a former civil servant unionist's suggestion that the government should stop paying a pension if a retired civil servant is convicted of a serious crime to ensure retired civil servants stay loyal to the government.

Earlier, Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association's Peter Wong Hyo said that the government should amend the declaration to require retired civil servants not to violate the security law.

Lee said yesterday that such a requirement could be included in the existing declaration.

"Wong's message was correct, the declaration has not been updated in a long time," he said. "But there should still be a discussion on whether the declaration should be specifically linked to the national security law."

He said such an amendment would not undermine freedom of speech.

"Hongkongers still enjoy freedom of speech under the national security law."

Lawmaker Steven Ho Chun-yin of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said: "If [civil servants] violate their contract, including the part requiring them to be loyal to the government, the government should no longer pay their pension," Ho said.

Ho also stressed some retired civil servants could "incite" other government employees and so they must be regulated. But he said the regulation would only target those who breach the security law and civil servants could still criticize authorities.

"Criticizing the government would not be a problem. The point is they cannot violate the national security law, [such as by] calling for sanctions against China or supporting local terrorism," Ho said.

Some retired civil servants, including former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and former secretary for the civil service Joseph Wong Wing-ping, have been criticized by pro-Beijing politicians and columnists for backing the opposition.

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