Four police officers who cracked a HK$150 million drug case were arrested along with suspects for stealing nearly 25 kilos of methamphetamine, charge sheet hides their occupation

Sources said a Kowloon West Anti-Triad Squad police sergeant was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. It is understood that the police sergeant had participated in the $160 million methamphetamine case last week. Police are investigating whether he was involved in stealing the exhibits for resale. It is learnt that Commissioner of Police Chris Tang Ping-keung is furious about the incident.

Sources said that at around 12 midnight, the Mongkok Special Duty Squad searched two rooms on the 15th floor of a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui East with a search warrant. It is alleged that Sergeant Hui of the Kowloon West Anti-Triad Squad, entered one of the rooms with a room card carrying 2.1 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Police also seized 200 grams of other drugs, including cocaine and more than $100,000 in cash, and arrested the police sergeant, a 29-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man on the spot, both of whom have drug conviction records. The police are investigating the source of the drugs.

It is alleged that the arrested police sergeant had participated in the cracking of a $160 million methamphetamine case in Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, last week. On that day, the police broke into a vacant ground-floor shop and seized nearly 300 kg of methamphetamine, which is the largest quantity of methamphetamine seized by law enforcement departments in a single operation since 1991. Sources said the police were investigating whether the arrested police sergeant had stolen the exhibits in the case for resale. He has been suspended from his duties and the case has been referred to the Narcotics Bureau for follow-up.

Due to the serious nature of the case, the sources said that the police deployed a drug-sniffing dog to search the police sergeant’s office in the Anti-triad Squad of the Kowloon West Headquarters. No drugs were seized for the time being, and no other police officers were found involved in the case. The police will conduct a comprehensive review of other cases in which the sergeant was involved.

It was learnt that the Commissioner of Police, Mr Chris Tang Ping-keung, who attended the meeting in the morning, was shocked and saddened by the incident.

Updates 8th May 2020:

During a subsequent search of a residential flat in Shek Kip Mei, police seized about 23 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine, suspected to be related to the police sergeant. In that operation, the police also arrested another 37-year-old police officer. Police said that after further investigation, officers from the Narcotics Bureau arrested a 31-year-old and a 36-year-old local man on suspicion of “misconduct in public office” on the night of May 8. The two arrested men are off-duty police officers and both are being held for investigation. In other words, four police officers have been arrested in the case so far. Sources said those arrested today include an inspector-level officer.

Police said that at this stage of the investigation, there is reason to believe that a total of 25 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine seized so far is linked to a drug case on April 28.

Updates 9th May 2020:

The case was arraigned in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court in the early hours of 9 May 2020, where one of the male defendants was a police sergeant, but his occupation was not listed in the charge sheet in the usual manner. The magistrate adjourned the case on the application of the prosecution and the two male defendants did not apply for bail and were awaiting trial.

The three defendants are Chin King-fung (42), a woman Wong Yeuk-nam (28) and Hui Sze-hon (41). They were charged with three counts of drug trafficking. The charge was that the first defendant illegally trafficked dangerous drugs in Room 1508 of the Royal Garden Hotel on Mody Road, Kowloon on May 6 this year. The second defendant and the third defendant are jointly facing two drug trafficking offences for unlawful trafficking of dangerous drugs at Room 1517 of the Royal Garden Hotel and a flat at 111 Tai Hang Tung Road, Nam Shan Estate on May 7.

The charge sheet did not state the type or weight of the drugs and, unlike usual practice, the defendants’ information did not indicate the occupations of the three defendants, of whom Hui Sze-hon reported living in a disciplined services quarters. According to the information, Hui is a police sergeant in the Anti-Triad Unit of the Kowloon West Regional Headquarters.

It is understood that all the four persons arrested in the “meth possession case” belong to Team 2 of the Anti-Triad Squad of the Kowloon West Regional Headquarters and the highest rank is Senior Inspector. The first two arrested, the police sergeant (aged 41) and the police constable (aged 37), were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. The charges are more serious and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. As for the 31-year-old senior inspector and 36-year-old police officer arrested just yesterday, they were only arrested on a lesser charge of ”misconduct in public office” (up to seven years in prison).

The sources said the 31-year-old senior inspector arrested was responsible for “counting” the drugs in the $160 million meth case, while the 36-year-old police officer arrested was responsible for guarding the exhibits, i.e. drugs, in the case. Police arrested the two men on suspicion of gross negligence, which led to the theft of up to 25 kg of meth (exhibits). As to whether prosecution will be instituted, it depends on whether there is evidence of “wilful” negligence on the part of the two men.

Laws of Hong Kong Cap. 134 Dangerous Drugs Ordinance Part II Section 4:
Trafficking in dangerous drug
(1) Save under and in accordance with this Ordinance or a licence granted by the Director hereunder, no person shall, on his own behalf or on behalf of any other person, whether or not such other person is in Hong Kong—
(a) traffic in a dangerous drug;
(b) offer to traffic in a dangerous drug or in a substance he believes to be a dangerous drug; or
(c) do or offer to do an act preparatory to or for the purpose of trafficking in a dangerous drug or in a substance he believes to be a dangerous drug. (Amended 37 of 1980 s. 2)

(2) Subsection (1) shall apply whether or not the dangerous drug is in Hong Kong or is to be imported into Hong Kong or is ascertained, appropriated or in existence.
(3) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable—
(a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine of $5,000,000 and to imprisonment for life; and
(b) on summary conviction, to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for 3 years. (Amended 43 of 1974 s. 2)

According to the latest sentencing guidelines of the Court of Appeal, trafficking in 10 to 70 grams of methamphetamine is punishable by 7 to 11 years; 70 to 300 grams by 11 to 15 years and 300 to 600 grams by 15 to 20 years, all of which are one to two years higher than before. For those above 600 grams, the sentencing guidelines for heroin are followed, with 26 to 30 years for trafficking in 4,000 to 15,000 grams.

Laws of Hong Kong Cap. 210 Theft Ordinance Section 9:
Theft
Any person who commits theft shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction upon indictment to imprisonment for 10 years.

In the Sin Kam Wah v HKSAR (2005) 8 HKCFAR 192 case, the Court of Final Appeal established five elements of the offence of misconduct in public office, including:

1) a public official;
2) in the course of or in relation to his public office;
3) willfully misconducts himself, by act or omission, for example, by willfully neglecting or failing to perform his duty;
4) without reasonable excuse or justification; and
5) where such misconduct was serious, not trivial, having regard to the responsibilities of the office and the office-holder, the importance of the public objects which they serve and the nature and extent of the departure from those responsibilities.

Police General Orders Chapter 6 Section 6-01:
2. (a) Other than in the course of duty, a police officer shall not associate with:-
(i) any known criminal or triad personality; or
(ii) any person about whom the officer has been notified by the CP (ACP SQ) that association with the person is likely to bring disrepute to the officer himself and / or the Police Force.
(b) Officers are also advised that other than in the course of duty, they should not associate with persons of doubtful or undesirable reputation

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