Beijing on Friday confirmed a reshuffle of the SAR administration, with Secretary for Security John Lee replacing Matthew Cheung as chief secretary, and Police Commissioner Chris Tang replacing Lee.
One of Tang's deputies, Raymond Siu, is becoming the territory's new police chief.
At a press conference, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the three men had fought alongside her over the past two years.
"The three appointed officials had fought beside me and shouldered responsibilities during Hong Kong’s unprecedented hardship. I am confident they will continue to rise to challenges in their respective positions, and contribute to the nation and to Hong Kong,” said Lam.
Despite only having a year left of her current term, Lam said “now is a good time to step forward and start anew".
She also thanked Beijing for its trust in her and its support during two "challenging" years, saying under the central government’s leadership, the SAR has emerged from chaos.
According to a Xinhua News Agency report on Friday, the State Council decided on the reshuffle on June 23, upon a recommendation from Lam.
Lee had been with the police force for over 30 years and is the first ex-officer to become a top minister.
Lam said his promotion was made on merit, and she urged people not to "speculate" too much about it.
"To be fair to John Lee, he has been in the government for almost four decades. And the Security Bureau is perhaps one of the biggest, in terms of significance, in terms of the number of civil servants under its supervision. So one could not say that as the secretary for security for many years, his experience is limited to the police background or limited to the law enforcement," she said.
Last updated: 2021-06-25 HKT 12:19