HK struggles to size up gravity of 'massage-gate' - RTHK
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HK struggles to size up gravity of 'massage-gate'

2021-05-13 HKT 12:22
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  • HK struggles to size up gravity of 'massage-gate'
Frances Sit reports
Debate swirled on Thursday over the "massage-gate" scandal engulfing the Hong Kong police, with politicians, scholars and the public still struggling to work out how serious the affair is.

The force's director of national security, Frederic Choi, is said to have been placed on leave pending an investigation after he was reportedly caught up in a raid last month on an unlicensed massage parlour.

"Given that he's such a senior police officer, heading the security department, I think the public would demand more transparency on the handling [of the case]," legal scholar and former member of the Independent Police Complaints Council, Eric Cheung told RTHK.

"Many of these unlicensed establishments might have connections with triad activities... we do not know whether it may involve not just Mr Choi but other police officers, and whether there may be any allegation or involvement about corruption," he said.

But lawmaker Paul Tse pointed out on an RTHK radio programme that visiting an unlicensed massage parlour is not illegal. It's no worse than going to an unlicensed restaurant, and not even as serious as jaywalking, he said.

Even if such behaviour breaches the police's internal guidelines, people shouldn't make too much of what is a "minor incident", Tse added.

Callers to the radio programme weren't so sure.

One man, who said he was a retired disciplined services officer, said staff have long been reminded to avoid "disreputable" places.

"A private restaurant is not a disreputable venue, but an unlicensed massage parlour definitely is. Paul Tse, you shouldn't be an apple-polisher and help disguise this incident," the man said.

Another caller said he wondered what there was left to investigate, several weeks after the raid was said to have happened.

"They always repeat they’re investigating. You have investigated for a month. This is such a simple event. It’s clearly an incident of a senior cop having gone to an inappropriate place. What more is there to investigate?" he questioned.

But another guest on the programme, the DAB's Gary Chan, said he believes the police have already been as transparent as they can about the saga.

"No one is above the law. And with so many eyes and the media focusing on the incident, any favouritism wouldn't be possible," Chan said.