November 11, 2003

Free Sex for Hong Kong Cops Draws Fire

Hong Kong's top police spokesman says it's OK for undercover cops to get certain sexual favors from prostitutes during investigations aimed at cracking down on solicitation, but has declined to comment on allegations some officers are demanding sex for free.

Chief Superintendent Tang How-kong was responding to a growing furor over allegations that some police were using their positions to demand free services from prostitutes in Hong Kong, where prostitution is legal but brothels and solicitation are not.

Tang insisted that the police are behaving professionally - with no pleasure involved - in their limited contact with prostitutes during the course of their investigations.

"If you ask the officers, I don't think any of them will use the adjective 'enjoyable.' It's disgusting work," Tang told a local radio talk show on Monday.

Tang said it would be unacceptable for officers to extort free sexual favors from prostitutes, but did not specifically deny the allegations that this was taking place

Another police spokesman, Patrick Wong, also defended the department's stance allowing only some sex to occur in the undercover investigations.

"Some physical contact is acceptable," Wong told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It's inevitable."

Lawmaker James To rejected the police explanation, saying he doesn't believe "it's necessary" for undercover officers to go so far.

Prostitutes have been complaining to news media this week about some police demanding their services without paying.