Policing the 1967 riots in Hong Kong: An alternative account from frontline police officers

Ka Ki Lawrence HO, Yiu Kong CHU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The 1967 riots were widely regarded as the worst civil unrest in Hong Kong. According to the official explanation, the Hong Kong Police, as a para-military and non-localized force, were the most loyal government agency to restore social orders by containing these "political confrontations". In the eyes of the local Chinese leftists, however, the Hong Kong Police were regarded as the "running dog" of the British colonialists who ruthlessly suppressed their compatriots in Hong Kong. Based on archival materials and in-depth interviews with 8 Chinese frontline police officers who were directly involved in suppressing the riots, this research has four major findings.
First, these police officers thought that the prolong disorder were not serious riots but only civil disturbances. Second, regarding their policing assignments as apolitical tasks despite acknowledging the politicization of the riots, they inclined to have a fearless outlook when confronting the protesting crowds. Third, few police officers quitted their job during the prolong riots because they saw it as a police duty to restore the social stability of the territory. They were also attracted by the subsidiary and relevant benefits during the riots. Finally, the frontline police officers tended to fully accept the colonial government's approach in dealing with the riots. In response to the local communist challenge of enforcing "fascist, brutal and hardcore suppression of the compatriots", they generally considered the regime's policing strategy as a carefully-drafted and flexibly-adjusted one that showed greatest steadiness and restraint, thus successfully gaining support from the mainstream local Chinese community. Copyright © 2005 Asian Association of Police Studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-15
JournalAsian Policing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


police officer
Hong Kong
colonial government
social stability
social order
government agency


Ho, L. K. K., & Chu, Y. K. (2005). Policing the 1967 riots in Hong Kong: An alternative account from frontline police officers. Asian Policing, 3(1), 3-15.