Hong Kong’s biggest police association has lodged a complaint with the city’s medical watchdog, accusing opposition lawmaker and urologist Dr Kwok Ka-ki of professional misconduct for his perceived “insults and hate speech” aimed at police officers.
In a letter to Medical Council chairman Professor Joseph Lau Wan-yee, the Junior Police Officers’ Association, which has about 25,000 members, called Kwok’s behaviour “despicable” and said it had “degraded” the medical profession.
At the centre of the dispute was a message posted on the doctor’s Facebook page last Thursday. A picture showing a group of riot police was captioned: “A bunch of green objects that willingly serve as the running dog of the tyrant regime. All those suppressed are Hong Kong people.”
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
Kwok’s message also suggested the officers had sold their souls and willingly became tools of a dictatorship because they could not get higher-paying jobs given their “not very high academic qualifications”.
The written message, however, did not specifically use the term “police”.
In the letter, association chairman Lam Chi-wai accused Kwok of insulting the city’s police officers and inciting hate against them.
“Such despicable behaviour is in flat contradiction of the high ethical standards that a medical practitioner should have,” Lam wrote, adding that Kwok’s behaviour had “degraded” and “brought shame” to his profession.
To the best of my memory, the council had not dealt with a case about a doctor’s speech
A member of Hong Kong’s Medical Council
“Our association is now filing a complaint to your council against Dr Kwok for committing professional misconduct.”
Lam also cited the council’s code of professional conduct, and said trust was essential to the practice of medicine, and that the patient’s trust imposed upon the doctor a corresponding duty to be trustworthy and accountable.
“But how can patients trust a doctor who talks black into white and confuses right with wrong, and who spends his time splitting up society by smearing law enforcers?”
Lam also pointed to numerous cases during last year’s anti-government movement in which protesters had flashed laser pointers in officers’ eyes. Kwok, he said, had not advised against the practice but instead defended protesters’ use of the devices.
The Hong Kong Police Force on Sunday posted a statement to its official Facebook page, expressing “severe condemnation” of Kwok for insulting officers.
Kwok, of the opposition Civic Party, declined to comment on the situation to the Post.
But in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, he said: “Hong Kong people have freedom of speech. Facts speak louder than words. The police force should not forget that, as public servants, they should serve the citizens, not suppress them.”
While the Medical Council said it would not comment on an individual case, a member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “It would be very unusual if a hearing into a doctor’s professional conduct is held over his or her public speech.
“Usually, the complaints are about medical practices. There have also been cases in which a hearing would be conducted if a doctor was convicted of some criminal offence, like driving drunk. But to the best of my memory, the council had not dealt with a case about a doctor’s speech.”
According to the general procedure, a complaint will first be assessed by the council’s preliminary investigation committee.
“We never reject a complaint at the screening stage unless both the chairman and the deputy chairman of the [preliminary investigation committee] have seen it separately and they agree, after consultation with a lay member, that we should take no action. If either one of them thinks we should take the complaint further, we will do so,” a message on the council’s official website reads.
Kwok was locked in a separate dispute with the force in February. Police wrote to Kwok to express strong disappointment over his “groundless, misleading, and irresponsible remarks” about officers getting more than enough anti-epidemic protective gear despite not being directly involved in the fight against Covid-19.