Policing in Hong Kong and Macau: Transformations from the colonial era to special administrative regions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The 1980s saw the People’s Republic of China assert and realize its territorial claims over Hong Kong and Macau as negotiations on the transfer of sovereignty from Britain and Portugal proceeded apace. Subsequent treaties with London and Lisbon prescribed a novel ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle that stipulated ‘a high degree of autonomy’ from the Central People’s Government in Beijing in virtually all policy areas except for diplomatic and military affairs and preserved some of the colonial institutions in the process. With regard to policing, Hong Kong retains an Anglo-Saxon model with a single police force anchored in common law traditions. Macau, by contrast, operates under a continental model of policing rooted in the civil law tradition, with separate judicial and administrative police bureaus.

This chapter introduces key features of both territories’ police forces and plots their coming-of-age from the violent leftist riots of the 1960s through the handovers of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macau in 1999, along with the latest developments in the first ‘post-return’ decade. It examines the evolving relationship between the police and society; the organizational differences of the two forces; and police involvement in internal security management against both general crime and social unrest. The post-colonial question has far-reaching implications. How did colonial administrations effect their authority over the majority Chinese populations? What were the characteristics, rationale and effectiveness of the policing systems they developed? What drove the police to change in these cities; and to what effect? The discussion is primarily based on interviews with veteran colonial officers and publicly accessible official archives. Copyright © 2015 selection and editorial material, Vivien Miller and James Campbell; individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransnational penal cultures: New perspectives on discipline, punishment and desistance
EditorsVivien MILLER, James CAMPBELL
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge
Pages80-97
ISBN (Electronic)9781317807209, 9781317807186, 9781317807193
ISBN (Print)9780415741316, 9781315815312
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Hong Kong
police
civil law
policy area
common law
Portugal
treaty
sovereignty
autonomy
Military
offense
China
interview
management

Citation

Ho, L. K.-K. (2015). Policing in Hong Kong and Macau: Transformations from the colonial era to special administrative regions. In V. Miller, & J. Campbell (Eds.), Transnational penal cultures: New perspectives on discipline, punishment and desistance (pp. 80-97). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.