Pro-establishment lawmaker Regina Ip has defended a huge overtime payment for police officers, saying they have been working extra hours to maintain law and order, and not to make money.
The New People’s Party chairwoman said she believed officers would rather have less overtime work because that would mean society is peaceful.
She was reacting after it became known that officers were paid a total of HK$950 million in overtime from June to November this year.
Ip said the amount is high because of a large number of events in recent times. "Starting from June 9, there have been 900 public order events, taking place all over Hong Kong, as a result of which police had to work very long shifts," said Ip.
"It is only reasonable that people need to be compensated for the work that they did," said the former security secretary.
When asked if it’s appropriate that the overtime pay has no ceiling, she said many government expenses are non-cash limited because they are necessary.
RTHK's request for comments on the overtime figure did not evoke any response from pro-government lawmakers Horace Cheung and Elizabeth Quat.
But Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui said he was astonished by the amount racked up.
He said it is unfair to use taxpayers’ money this way when people are angry about an alleged abuse of power by police. He also criticised the government for lacking transparency over the payments.
Hui's party colleague Lam Cheuk-ting said the opposition will not support a request for more funds to pay police for overtime.
Officers getting paid for extra workload: Regina Ip
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