Police sergeant and officer from Yau Tsim Mong anti-triad squad accused of unauthorised access to CCTV footage in assault case

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7th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) Two police officers, a sergeant and an officer from the Yau Tsim Mong Anti-Triad Squad, are currently on trial for allegedly obtaining CCTV footage related to an assault case without proper authorisation. The trial continued yesterday at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts, where the accused denied any wrongdoing while performing their duties.

The court heard that the assault case in question involved members of a triad gang and that only officers from the East Kowloon Regional Headquarters were responsible for investigating the incident. On the day in question, the accused officers were conducting an investigation in Kowloon Bay when they “bumped into” one of the defendants who was suspected of searching for information on CCTV footage. The defendant left after making eye contact with the officers. The defendant’s superior later emphasised that there was no instruction to view the CCTV footage in question.

The two male defendants are 41-year-old Shum Chi-ming, a police sergeant, and 35-year-old Yeung Cheuk-lun, a police officer. According to the testimony of a security supervisor surnamed To at the East Kowloon Campus of the Hong Kong University School of Professional and Continuing Education, on the afternoon of 17th November, 2021, criminal department personnel from the East Kowloon Regional Headquarters came to the security office of the campus to view footage from two CCTV cameras. The two accused officers visited the campus the following day at around 4 pm. The first defendant stayed outside the school gate while the second defendant entered the security office and requested to view the same CCTV footage. To asked him to show his appointment certificate, and the officer quickly showed him a certificate with a crown and a photo. To assumed it was an appointment certificate and asked which district he belonged to, to which the officer replied “Sau Mau Ping” and wrote down his name and number on a piece of paper before leaving after watching the footage for around 10 minutes.

During the trial, the prosecution argued that the accused officers had no authority to access the CCTV footage and had breached the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. The defence, however, argued that the officers were acting within their duties and that the CCTV footage was publicly available. The trial is ongoing, and the verdict is expected to be announced at a later date.