Political Policing in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Law Journal, Vol. 33, p. 199, 2003
Posted: 28 Aug 2006
Modern states, democratic ones in particular, have grown to prefer the use of more subtle, or at least less visible, police surveillance to open confrontation in a courtroom, where the state itself may be scrutinised in public. Well-equipped national security agencies enable the state to respond to potential security threats before they mature. Hong Kong's political police unit, the Special Branch, was indispensable to Hong Kong's colonial political order. Although it was disbanded before the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, political policing and monitoring probably continue under the new legal order. This article examines the historical origin of political policing in Hong Kong, including the establishment of the Special Branch and its initial focus on communist activity in Hong Kong. It then traces the demise of the Special Branch prior to the handover, examines the role played by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and explores the relevance of political policing to contemporary society.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation