The highest-ranked woman in Hong Kong police’s 175-year history was on Friday appointed to head the government’s watchdog – the Office of the Ombudsman.
Confirming the Post’s earlier report, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor appointed Winnie Chiu Wai-yin, the first woman to ever hold the role of deputy police commissioner, to be the new Ombudsman for a term of five years from April 1.
Chiu, 56, will retire from the force on March 4 after 35 years of service, and be succeeded by police’s director of management service, Oscar Kwok Yam-shu, 53.
Lam said she was confident Chiu would fully demonstrate her independence and impartiality as the Ombudsman.
“Her extensive experience and clear vision will enable the Office of the Ombudsman to further its important mission of improving public administration in Hong Kong,” Lam said.
Chiu’s sudden departure will come about five months ahead of her hitting the official retirement age of 57. She will succeed Connie Lau Yin-hing, whose contract ends on March 31. The five-year contract would award Chiu a monthly salary of HK$281,750.
Lam praised Lau for her capable and outstanding leadership, saying proactive investigation and constructive recommendations had motivated government departments and public bodies to enhance the efficiency and quality of public services.
“Her sense of justice and fairness is well respected, and the sterling performance of her office has won recognition both in the local community and internationally,” Lam added.
The primary duty of the Ombudsman is to investigate any alleged maladministration of more than 80 government departments and public authorities, excluding police. But the watchdog does have the power to look into complaints against the force for non-compliance with the Code on Access to Information.
The post was opened for applications last August after Lau indicated she had no interest in staying on.
According to the advertisement, applicants must have at least 15 years of experience in senior-level administration in the public or private sector, and also hold experience in public or community service in the city.
Chiu made headlines after she was named the force’s first female deputy chief in July 2017. Two weeks after the appointment, she told the press women police officers could play an increasingly vital crime-fighting role as they were more meticulous and sensitive by nature.
She said she was surprised by the level of social interest in her new role as she felt that being a woman did not put her at any disadvantage when climbing the ranks in the male-dominated occupation.
Chiu, who joined the force in 1983, was once the deputy commander of Tango Coy, the first female police tactical unit platoon, which was formed in 1992 to deal with the forced repatriation of Vietnamese migrants.
Kwok joined the force as an inspector in 1990. He worked in various posts including in a crime squad, a regional intelligence unit and the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.
He has also served as the district commander of Central and regional commander of Hong Kong Island. Kwok became director of management service in 2017.
This article Highest-ranking woman in Hong Kong police’s history, Winnie Chiu, to head up government watchdog first appeared on South China Morning Post