Police officers frequenting SARs raises concerns in Taiwan

Investigations into two police officers in Taiwan who had visited Hong Kong and Macau a multitude of times were initiated by the Taiwanese authority on suspicions of spying or undercover activities, the Taiwanese media has reported.

A 41-year-old police officer surnamed Chang, based in the southern city of Kaohsiung, is being investigated by the authority due to his frequent visitation to Macau and Hong Kong. Between March 2017 and December 2018, he visited Macau and Hong Kong a total of 33 times, all without giving prior notice to his station.

The investigation into Chang is still underway. Even though he was not found guilty of any breach of work, the investigation was extended because he visited Macau twice during his sick leave. The authority said if a fraudulent claim was found, Chang would be punished accordingly.

Chang defended himself by saying that he needed to process the emotion caused by the deaths of his two grandmothers. His visits to the SARs were due to this reason, he claimed. He claimed he did not gamble in Macau, and only drank occasionally. He says he did not want to disclose his emotional condition, so prior reports were not made to his station.

Chang was once the head of a Kaohsiung police station, but was punished for patronizing establishments inappropriate for police officers.

A similar case involved an officer surnamed Hou of the same age, also based in Kaohsiung, who visited the SARs around 20 times between last year and February this year, the Liberty Times reported this week.

With these visits made also without prior notice to the station, he was punished by receiving a first-level demerit and a demotion.

Chang’s case was unearthed accidentally in the course of investigating Hou. The Kaohsiung Police Department had initiated a large-scale action after realizing Hou’s frequent visitation to Macau and Hong Kong. The police department, however, did not find any connection between the two cases.

The police department in Taiwan has implemented measures to prevent undercover activities within the department, which is common in many jurisdictions. Also common in many places is the special travel procedure during holidays on law enforcement officials.

The Times has contacted the Public Security Police Force for comment on the cases, as well as the Judiciary Police regarding the visits of the Taiwanese officers to Macau. Both bureaus were also asked about the existence of such a policy requiring their own officers to give prior notice before leaving Macau on holidays. A response was not received by press time. Staff reporter

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