Hong Kong's Top Cop Wants To Make It Illegal To Insult Police Officers

from the watch-your-mouths,-plebes dept

The Blue Lives Matter movement has traveled overseas. Here in the US, we’ve seen various attempts to criminalize sassing cops, although none of those appear to be working quite as well as those already protected by a raft of extra rights would like. Meanwhile, we had Spain lining itself up for police statesmanship by making it a criminal offense to disrespect police officers.

Over in Hong Kong, the police chief — while still debating whether or not he should offer an apology for his officers’ beating of bystanders during a 2014 pro-democracy protest — has thrown his weight behind criminalization of insults directed at officers.

Hong Kong’s police commissioner said he would support a law to make insulting officers on duty a crime on Tuesday, in what appeared to be a move to placate the city’s police union.

Stephen Lo Wai-chung said an increasing number of disputes in the city was a reason a law was needed – an apparent reversal from his stance a year ago.

“Over the past few years, our officers have been carrying out duties in a society that full of disputes. They caught in the middle in many circumstances. They were insulted in certain extents at work with their jobs sometimes disrupted,” Lo told reporters as he announced last year’s crime statistics, adding that the force had overcome “several big challenges” in recent years.

Disrupting officers is already a criminal offense. It’s the sort of thing that’s illegal everywhere. But disruption of official duties needs to be far more than derogatory remarks. If insults hurled at officers are preventing them from doing their jobs, the police chief doesn’t need new legislation. He needs new officers.

This change in stance can be traced back to Hong Kong’s largest police union. The Junior Police Officers Association, which represents two-thirds of Hong Kong’s police force, thinks officers need to be better protected from certain arrangements of letters.

This legislative push also comes with plenty of hypocrisy. As South China Morning Post editor Luisa Tam points out, officers regularly use “insulting” language and profanity when dealing with citizens.

Police officers are notorious for swearing anyway, so it does look a bit out of character for the police chief to push for a ban and punish the public for swearing at them.

This aligns the Hong Kong police chief with many other law enforcement officials who believe respect is something that can be demanded rather than earned.

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Comments on “Hong Kong's Top Cop Wants To Make It Illegal To Insult Police Officers”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Get what you give

That ‘authoritay’ folks fail to understand that in order to get respect, one needs to give respect, is not surprising. From their perspective, everyone is under their thumb…or should be.

When looking down your nose at everyone, and expecting that they don’t look down theirs back at you seems to simulate the act of some long necked birds. Sticking one’s head in the sand.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Laughably weak AND hypocrites, good combo

Police officers are notorious for swearing anyway, so it does look a bit out of character for the police chief to push for a ban and punish the public for swearing at them.

Out of character? Not at all, seems to be standard badge-bearing hypocrisy to me, which apparently applies no matter the country. ‘I can do it to you, but you can’t do it to me’.

If you can’t handle people saying mean things to you you are in no way qualified to hold a job that involves regularly interacting with the public. In addition, if they can’t handle harsh language(while still being quite happy to dish it out apparently), then they most certainly can’t handle someone with actual violent intent, so they need to quit and let other, actually qualified people step in to take their place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Laughably weak AND hypocrites, good combo

Sadly there seems to be an absurd human tendency with power and accountability – people expecting less from those with more status instead of more. This isn’t even ‘Can get away with more because of better lawyers’ but flat out letting them get away with serious misconduct someone with lesser status would be crucified for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Something about the way this article is written makes me think TD fundamentally misunderstands how China works. Yes, Hong Kong has a history of being a liberal democratic and relatively free territory, but that is changing.

Here in the west we like to maintain an illusion that authorities operate under some level of restraint and even if they occasionally behave like jackbooted thugs there is a common understanding that they should not. In China, rights come out of wallets, not out of courtrooms.

trj says:

Re: Restrained Authority ?

…yeah, Asian culture has a different view of authority.

But the government-authority problem is universal because of the basic power-corrupts principle. Nobody likes criticism and most everyone likes to avoid/reduce it if possible. Police generally have substantial discretionary power and use it to deflect criticism. American police departments are notorious for ignoring citizen complaints … and police departments/unions are quick to publicly attack any significant critics. American media generally and automatically gives great respect and credibility to any statements/opinions by police. (that’s a cultural thing too)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

More likely it comes from the party. I remember from a previous clash in an “autonomous region”, how the party said “You cannot elect anyone who doesn’t love China.” after a more liberal candidate was discarded.
Things all over China work by having locally elected governors and keeping them in perpetual negotiations with a representative from the party.

That is the way things work. While that system is a corruption-machine, the communist party fears the people, more than they care about corruption. That is why the anti-corruption measures won’t have that much impact on the systematic part of the corruption.

Particularly in Uighur and Tibet, the governors are brutally oppressive because of the fear of the people. Most western politicians would faint in awe of the incredible technological 1984-esque grid-surveillance and re-education programs going on there.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Christ, what an asshole.

We are special little snowflakes who can’t handle people calling us the same names we call them.
We need extra special ways to remind them we are not their protectors, we are their betters.
It isn’t enough we can beat people & delay apologies over 4 years, we need to extract more from you.

If someone calling you an asshole reduces you to a blubbering mass no longer able to police, you might be in the wrong fscking job.

David says:

Re: Perhaps...

To be fair, history tells us any privileged class will abuse their power and can’t be trusted.

Which is why the Scandinavian approach to making crime not worth it (by guaranteeing minimum life standards that beat living in fear of getting caught) has the additional benefit of not making a police force desirable that is armed to the teeth and ready to kill at the drop of a hat.

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