Unauthorised access to CCTV leads to misconduct conviction for police sergeant and officer

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Deputy Magistrate Winnie Lau

21st February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Two members of the Hong Kong Police Force, attached to the Yau Tsim Police District Anti-Triad Unit, have been convicted of misconduct in public office, a development that has cast a pall over the department’s integrity. The case, heard at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts today, ended with Deputy Magistrate Winnie Lau finding both defendants guilty, deeming their actions not only improper but severely damaging to the police force’s reputation.

The individuals in question are Shum Chi-ming, 41, a station sergeant, and Yeung Cheuk-lun, 35, a police constable. They faced allegations that on 18th November, 2021, while serving in their official capacities in Kowloon Bay, they deliberately and intentionally engaged in conduct amounting to a criminal breach of duty. Specifically, they were accused of using false identities and producing counterfeit documents purportedly issued by the police to obtain CCTV footage related to a wounding incident that occurred on the morning of 17th November, 2021—a matter that lay outside their jurisdiction.

During the trial, it was revealed that the wounding case in question involved members of a triad society and was officially being investigated only by officers from the East Kowloon Regional headquarters. Testimonies confirmed that the defendants’ superior officers had not instructed them to collect the CCTV footage from Kowloon Bay, nor were they briefed post-incident. After the prosecution presented its evidence, the magistrate had previously determined that there was prima facie evidence against the two officers. Opting not to testify in their own defence, the defendants also did not call any witnesses for the defence.

The gravity of the offence has prompted the magistrate to order background reports for both men before sentencing, which has been adjourned to 6th March. In the interim, both Shum and Yeung are being remanded in custody.