Former secretary for security Ambrose Lee died on Sunday morning at the age of 73.
RTHK learned that he passed away in his sleep at his Sha Tin home.
Lee joined the Immigration Department in 1974 and rose through the ranks. He became the head of the department in 1998.
In 2002, he was appointed ICAC commissioner by then chief executive Tung Chee-hwa.
A year later, he took over from Regina Ip as the security chief, a post that he held until 2012.
Lee was then elected a local deputy to the National People’s Congress, and served between 2013 and 2018.
In a statement, Chief Executive John Lee expressed deep sorrow over Ambrose Lee's death and offered his condolences to the family on behalf of the SAR government.
The CE said Ambrose Lee had been dedicated to serving Hong Kong over the years.
"During his tenure as the Secretary for Security, Mr Lee has made exemplary contributions in such areas as the maintenance of law and order, immigration service, customs control, as well as fire, correctional and government flying services. He commanded the respect and love of government colleagues and those in the community who had worked with him," John Lee said.
"I was deeply impressed by his dedication and commitment to serving the people of Hong Kong when I worked with him in various positions in the past."
Both his predecessor and successor as secretary for security also paid tribute to Ambrose Lee.
Ip told RTHK that she was shocked by news of his death. She said she learned that Ambrose Lee had had a fall, but was otherwise in good health.
Ip, who's now Executive Council convenor and a lawmaker, recalled working with him when she was the director of immigration and Ambrose Lee was her deputy.
She added that he was very helpful and very popular among colleagues. "He was a very good leader, very well-respected by his subordinates and all those who worked with him," Ip said.
"As secretary for security, he steered the enactment of two important pieces of legislation: the ordinance on IPCC, Independent Police Complaints Council, and also the interception of communications ordinance."
Lai Tung-kwok, who became secretary for security in 2012 and is also now a legislator, said they had shared many unforgettable memories working together, such as the Manila hostage crisis in 2010 and the aftermath of the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
Lai also said he'll provide whatever help he could to Ambrose Lee's family.
Last updated: 2022-08-14 HKT 16:47