The head of a charity fund set up to aid seven Hong Kong policemen jailed for beating Occupy activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu has rejected donations from three unnamed parties after public doubts about the donors’ background.
The move by Maria Tam Wai-chu, who is also a senior delegate to China’s national legislative body, came as some senior police officers and a lawmaker urged the fund not to accept donations from businessmen of dubious repute as doing so might tarnish the force’s image.
Speaking from Beijing where Tam is attending the annual “two sessions”, the founding president of the Junior Police Officers’ Association told an RTHK programme that three donations from the entertainment sector were returned Monday. She did not disclose the donors’ names or the amounts.
“We want the fund to operate in a low-key manner,” Tam said. “We will go through all the legal procedures before the money is sent.”
Celebrities and personalities from the show business world on Sunday donated HK$7,777,777 to the fund. To date, the fund has raised about HK$20 million.
Speaking on the same programme, Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting questioned whether some donors had a past criminal record. Accepting their donations, he said, would compromise the image and credibility of the police force.
Lam, who was a former corruption investigator, told Young Post yesterday that Tam’s rejection was a sensible move. “The fund needs to be managed carefully. The police would face a credibility crisis if they receive fund from a dubious place,” he says.
Lam suggested the force asked the Independent Commission Against Corruption for advice on how to manage the fund sensibly.
One police officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said the force has a legal procedure for receiving funds. “We need to ‘screen’ the donors’ backgrounds to avoid any conflict of interest,” he said.
The officer said that if they carry out license checks on entertainment venues, such as clubs, and then find out that the owner has made a donation to the fund, it could embarrass the officers and make them feel conflicted about whether to continue with the investigation.
“Despite a low morale after the seven policemen were jailed for two years, don’t forget we are law enforcers. We need to do everything according to the law,” the officer said.