Sai Kung’s 34-year-old police chief became philosophical towards the end of an interview. Chief Inspector Daniel Tsang Wa-hei said his 18 months here were his first experience in command of a division. He had learned a lot and concluded it was important to strike a balance between enforcement and public relations. “I could have officers on the streets issuing thousands of tickets, but that would ruin our relationship with the public.” He believes police action should be reasonable and proportionate.
It is on weekends that the police numbers in Sai Kung go up significantly. About 20 officers, including some in brown uniforms, will come from Wong Tai Sin district headquarters almost every day on weekends and holidays to try to discipline the increased traffic. A number will be on motorcycles.
Daniel said every week they get complaints about land disputes. “The long-standing battle between developers on the one hand and people who want to preserve the environment on the other.” The public should not expect the police to decide what is right or wrong in a land dispute. They are there to ascertain whether a criminal offence has occurred. “It is a delicate job.”
A chief inspector since he was 30, Daniel may be headed for rapid promotion. How did he get to a high rank so quickly? Modestly, he said it is not unusual. One officer made superintendent by age 32. Before entering the police force Daniel attained two university degrees, one in physiotherapy and one, a master’s, in international public affairs. Now
he is studying for a master’s in police management from Cambridge University.
Daniel briefed SAI KUNG BUZZ on recent crime, saying the Sai Kung police division (Chuk Kok to Kei Ling Ha) covers 45,000 people.
HOMELESS: We discussed the sadness of the homeless man who died alone in the basement of a derelict house on Clearwater Bay Road. Sai Kung police did not know the details about this; it was outside their area. Homeless people have been seen in Sai Kung. The most recent case was reported in November 2017 when a homeless sleeper was found dead on a bench outside a restaurant in the town centre. No suspicious element was detected in the case. What do the police do when they learn about someone who is homeless? Daniel said they ask the person if they can help and try to get consent to involve the Social Welfare Department. Unless the person is in danger, or is a threat to the public, the police can not inform the SWD without permission. Nonetheless, the police welcome reports of homeless people so they can help as far as possible.
BURGLARIES: This is the most common crime in the district. Forty-four were reported in 2017, a drop of about 25 per cent. Daniel said a number of factors had led to the reduction in burglaries: greater security awareness, sweeping of the countryside by about 30 rural patrol officers almost every day and the improved economy in Guangdong, leading to a drop in illegal immigrant arrivals.
DRUGS: Four cases occurred last year resulting in three arrests. Suspicious people were searched by officers and small amounts of cannabis were found. Youngsters were not involved. Regarding drugs in schools or in the possession of school children, Daniel said there had been no such reports. If any member of the public notifies them of this kind of thing the police will set up an ambush.
SUICIDES: A 19-year-old boy “who was believed to have consumed chemicals and was under their influence” jumped off the roof of Centro. Police found cannabis on the staircase near the roof. A man is in hospital after being found unconscious in a town flat where charcoal was burning. Daniel fears the man may be brain damaged. Just a few days ago the 15-year-old daughter of a taxi driver called 999 saying her father had told her by phone he wanted to kill himself. One of the factors was a poor relationship with his wife. Police swept the area where it was thought the taxi driver might be. But they found him in his taxi near Tai Mong Tsai Road when it was too late. Charcoal had been burning in the car. If people fear someone may commit suicide it is important to report early, Daniel said. Not necessarily to the police, because there are several excellent NGOs. Watch for talk about death, what to do after the person has died, signs the individual is depressed and feels helpless and hopeless.
DOMESTIC HELPERS: No reports of abuse of helpers or by them have been received. Police had been called during domestic disputes. One helper was reported missing and she later returned home.
SCHOOLS: A case of vandalism occurred at Lee Sui Yum School. Two male teenagers climbed a fence and damaged a CCTV camera.
TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS: A woman fell when she was jay-walking in town. She was lucky not to get hit by a car. On Hiram’s Highway a wheel flew off a truck hitting a car. Police ticket cyclists riding on Sai Sha Road and Tai Mong Tsai Road on Sundays and holidays because the roads are too narrow and cycling is dangerous. Sai Kung police receive reports of suspected car racing from time to time. Police set up snap checks and use unmarked cars with speed detectors. We raised the matter of speed cameras to slow the traffic and thus reduce the human and cattle road toll. “I consider this appropriate and a very good deterrent,” Daniel said. The final say on this matter lies with the Transport Department. “I have raised it with them multiple times.” At this point he began laughing: It is no easy task to find the right person responsible for the right policy in the government. At the Transport Department, is it Road Design, is it Engineering, or is it Enforcement? He thinks the TD may be resistant to speed cameras on our main roads because of the way the roads are designed.
TRIAD-STYLE ATTACKS: The red liquid and smashed windows assault on the home of an innocent family in O Tau has not been solved. A similar attack occurred in Ho Chung over a business dispute. One man was arrested.
SEX ASSAULTS: Four minor cases of indecent assault.
THEFTS: Twelve cases of shop lifting and 10 of theft from vehicles.
FRAUD AND DECEPTION: Obtaining money through fraud by telephone or on-line. Commonly, people order on line and the goods never turn up. Eighteen cases.
ANIMAL CRUELTY: One man has been arrested and charged with causing unnecessary suffering to animals after two dogs were found in poor condition on a roof. In Nam Shan village, it was reported dogs were being ill-treated, but an SPCA investigation did not confirm this. The police are keeping an eye on the matter.