The Philippines’ police force may be more transparent than Hong Kong’s, or at least the Hong Kong Civil Rights Observer, a human rights activist group founded in January 2015, thinks so.
The South China Morning Post reports that the group, created partially to support Occupy Central democracy activists who were arrested, will submit its claims to the Legislative Council’s Panel on Security. The activist group supports a proposal by three democratic lawmakers that a sub-committee be formed to examine the lack of transparency within the Hong Kong police force.
This would be the second time such a committee would be formed, as in 2009, a sub-commitee investigated the legality of police strip-searches of detainees. Ultimately, the investigation resulted in a re-assessment of the police’s guidelines, and a perhaps related drop in strip-searches.
Icarus Wong Ho-yin, a member of the Hong Kong Civil Rights Observer, supports his comparison of the Philippines’ and Hong Kong’s Police Force with the observation that, “The guidelines [of the Philippine police] could be more comprehensive and specific, but at least they’re made public. The Hong Kong police force doesn’t have any such document available. A more transparent force would only reduce the mutual suspicion between police and the public.”
Granted, Icarus and the Hong Kong Civil Rights Observer, are contributing to the improvement of civil society in the city, considering that less than half of the police force’s guidelines are available for public consumption—with guidelines on the use of force and firearms even kept secret, supposedly for the safety of officers. This also may contribute to a reduction in police brutality, after officers were caught on camera kicking and beating a Civic Party member and democratic activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu in October 2014.
Regardless, it’s a sad day for Hong Kong when its police force can even be compared with that of the Philippines, a country where the public rates police corruption as extremely high (in the same league as Bangladesh and South Africa), according to Transparency International in 2013.
By Sophia Solivio
[Image via Flickr]