Top Hong Kong Security Officer Swept Up in Organized Crime Probe
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong organized-crime police are probing a senior security official who local reports say was caught visiting a massage parlor, damaging the reputation of a powerful agency that has locked up dozens of the city’s most prominent democracy activists.
Director of National Security Frederic Choi was mulling whether to step down after he was netted during a police raid, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday, citing a person it described only as high level. The raid occurred more than a month ago, according to the news website HK01, citing sources it did not identify.
“The work of the National Security Department will not be affected by an investigation into an allegation involving an individual officer because we are a team and we work as a team,” Police Commissioner Chris Tang said at a press conference.
The security body was set up in June last year after Beijing imposed a sweeping law that banned subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers. It has arrested 107 people under the legislation, according to data provided by the police, including several dozen pro-democracy activists and former politicians.
Separately, lawmakers in the Asian financial hub approved changes to a law that require the city’s largest group of elected officials take an oath of loyalty.
The amendment that passed requires the roughly 450 district councilors who handle the the lower levels of government to be loyal to Hong Kong’s government and laws, including the national security legislation.
It empowers the justice secretary to take legal action against anyone suspected of breaching their oath and for offenders to be banned from assuming office.
It passed 40 to 1 since no opposition remains in the legislature of the former British colony. Last year the government imposed a patriotism test to disqualify pro-democracy lawmakers -- prompting the entire opposition to resign en masse.
Choi was among the Hong Kong police officials that the Trump administration sanctioned in January for their role in implementing the national security law. Carrie Lam later honored him and other law enforcement figures for their work protecting national security.
He joined the Hong Kong police force in 1995, later specializing in security-related operations, according to a biography page on the police force’s website. He was promoted to senior assistant commissioner last year.
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