A senior Hong Kong police officer, who has more than 218,000 followers on Chinese social media, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of trying to fraudulently obtain a mortgage from two banks.
Superintendent Chan Hoi-kong, 50, who is known as “Haba Sir” online, was suspended after being detained for conspiracy to defraud. He was nicknamed “Haba Sir” as his Chinese name sounds the same as “harbour” in Cantonese.
According to police, officers arrested Chan, who is the assistant commander of Sha Tin district, and a 47-year-old local woman in the morning after seeking advice from the Department of Justice.
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“An initial investigation showed that the pair provided false documents and information to two banks in 2019 so as to acquire a mortgage. They are being detained for investigation,” a police statement read.
“The officer concerned is suspended from duty. However, the investigation showed that his personal matter had nothing to do with his official duties.”
The force added it attached great importance to the conduct of its officers and would not tolerate any illegal acts.
A source said the mortgage involved a luxury house, in Seaview Villas, in Tai Po. One of the houses was sold for HK$38 million in 2015.
Chan has 218,342 fans on Weibo, the biggest social media platform in mainland China, where he comments on social issues almost every day. He is considered to be a key opinion leader for the police force.
In one of his latest posts, he mentioned the anti-government protests that started in the second half of 2019. Chan said as an officer, he could feel anti-China forces tried to get in the way of Hong Kong police and patriots.
More than 10,250 people have been arrested in connection with the protests, while police officers have been accused of using unnecessary force when dealing with demonstrators.
Last February when the coronavirus broke out, Chan was disciplined after he sent a big box of surgical masks to Wuhan, in the name of the Hong Kong Police Force.
He posted a picture showing a parcel, destined for a hospital in Wuhan, with the words “Donation by Hong Kong Police. Masks 520 piece. 520 (I love you). Haba Sir”, written on it.
The Post reported at the time that Chan’s supervisor gave him a verbal warning, as a donation in the force’s name would give the wrong impression to members of the public while Hong Kong was experiencing a shortage of masks.
Police arrested 45 of their own officers in 2020 for various offences, compared to 21 in 2019.
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