Hong Kong Commissioner ignores best practice protocol

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has criticized the ongoing actions of Hong Kong’s Commissioner of Police and his failure to publicly disclose official trips until the missions are concluded. The IFJ has called on the Hong Kong government to investigate the commissioner’s action for a breach of public duty.

On February 15, a couple of hours after state-owned media organization Xinhua reported that the Police Commissioner had led a delegation to Beijing, the Hong Kong Government issued a press statement outlining the details of the trip. Commissioner of Police, Tsang Wai-hung, led a seven-person delegation to Beijing on February 12 to attend the 23rd Bilateral Meeting between the Mainland Public Security Authorities and the Hong Kong Police.

During the annual meeting, both parties discussed issues of mutual concern including the administration of law and order, border control, criminal investigations, internet security, counter-terrorism, cross-border crimes and police liaison and training. During the visit the delegation also met with State Councillor and Minister for Public Security, Guo Shengkun.

This is the second instance when Tsang did not make public information regarding official trips to <st1:place w:st="on">Beijing</st1:place>. In 2012, Tsang met with Wang Guangya, Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council of China, in Beijing, however he did not publicise the trip until after his meeting. Tsang claimed that withholding such information was common practice, however Hong Kong’s media have challenged this.

The IFJ Asia Pacific office said: “These meetings are certainly in the public’s interest. There is a responsibility and a right to inform how public money is used, particularly by officials. An accountable government should remain open and transparent to the public and their right to information and the media’s right to report on that. The IFJ is concerned that the Police Commissioner continues to ignore his responsibility on this important matter for the media and the public.”

The IFJ calls on the Secretary for the Security Bureau, Lai Tung-kwok to investigate Tsang’s actions and his duties as a public official to report official trips prior to departure. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific