Former Hong Kong Police Commissioner Andy Tsang. Photo: Hong Kong Police Force

Beijing is reportedly leveraging its influence at the United Nations as a permanent member of the Security Council to make a pitch for a former Hong Kong police commissioner to head an international body against drug crimes.

Andy Tsang, Beijing’s pick for the top position at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was directly involved in policing Hong Kong’s 2014 mass protests and sit-ins during which tear gas was fired and riot squads were mobilized.

Hong Kong papers reported that Tsang led a delegation to Vienna, where the UNODC is headquartered, for an international seminar in his capacity as a deputy director of Beijing’s National Narcotics Control Commission.

The South China Morning Post quoted a source as saying that Tsang was there canvassing votes as Panama and Colombia had also fielded candidates for the position, but the final selection would be done by Secretary General Antonio Guterres at UN headquarters in New York.

He will need to consult with the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, Russia and France.

It is understood that Russia may side with Beijing, but it remains to be seen if the US and its two allies in the Security Council will oppose, given the West’s heightened vigilance to China’s rising global clout.

Andy Tsang, nicknamed ‘bald eagle,’ was criticized for his headstrong approach. Photo: Handout
Hong Kong deployed riot squads to quash protests in 2014. Photo: Twitter
Protesters in Hong Kong in 2014. Photo: Pasu Au Yeung/Wikipedia Commons.

Tsang, who led Hong Kong’s 35,000-strong police force from 2011 to 2015, impressed Beijing with his unwavering stance to enforce laws and squash unauthorized protests, especially during the 79-day Occupy Central protests, also known as the Umbrella Movement, between September and December 2014.

The mass civil disobedience and sit-ins demanding genuine universal suffrage blocked main thoroughfares in the central business district of the former British colony, but it was business as usual for most trades in the city and there was no casualty nor a single case of a shop being robbed or criminal damage throughout the protracted rally, which saw more than 200,000 protesters flock to the Central and Admiralty districts at its peak.

Hong Kong protesters were well commended for their restraint and civility, but clearly Beijing also gave credit to Tsang for his role.

If Tsang is appointed to the UN body, it would not be seen as good news to those protesters, who were tear-gassed at the turbulent start of Occupy Central on September 28, 2014. Riot police carrying rifles and gas masks were also deployed to disperse people, not too far from the headquarters of the Hong Kong Police Force.

Tsang’s headstrong approach was lambasted by human rights activists, but won applause from pro-Beijing politicians and frontline police officers. He remains unapologetic about his style of policing, though he insisted it was the professional decision by the commander on the scene to fire 87 canisters of tear gas and moblize the riot squad with their guns drawn to prevent more people from joining the crowds. He said he fully supported that decision.

It was reported that he did not leave his office suite at police headquarters during the months-long protest to monitor the situation and coordinate the operations of the various police department and units.

Also, during Tsang’s tenure, Hong Kong’s crime rates dropped to their lowest levels since 1997 – less than 1,000 criminal cases in every 100,000 residents – significantly lower than the corresponding figures in other major international cities like New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.

He also overhauled and reformed the police department’s anti-terrorism units.

Tsang joined the police force in 1978 and while still a constable, he participated in a number of undercover operations posing as a driver and courier for drug syndicates.

Margaret Chan, the former Director-General of the World Health Organization. Photo: Xinhua

This is not the first time Beijing has backed a former Hong Kong official to head a major branch of the UN. Margaret Chan, Hong Kong’s former Director of Health, was elected Director-General of the World Health Organization in 2006. She retired in 2017.

But Beijing stirred up a backlash after it detained Interpol chief Meng Hongwei in 2018, who also served as a deputy public security minister. Beijing accused him of taking graft, but his wife has applied for asylum in France, where Interpol is based.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

Join the Conversation

1183 Comments

  1. I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  2. You could definitely see your expertise within the paintings you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  3. Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!

  4. Excellent website. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!

  5. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

  6. I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  7. I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  8. Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is simply cool and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  9. Nevertheless, it’s all carried out with tongues rooted solidly in cheeks, and everybody has got nothing but absolutely love for their friendly neighborhood scapegoat. In reality, he is not merely a pushover. He is simply that extraordinary breed of person solid enough to take all that good natured ribbing for what it really is.

  10. I just could not depart your website before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be back often to check up on new posts

  11. I’m impressed, I must say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the issue is one thing that not enough individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very completely happy that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing regarding this.

  12. Thank you for another fantastic post. Where else may just anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect means of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such information.

  13. naturally like your web-site however you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the truth then again I¦ll definitely come back again.

  14. I’ve been surfing on-line greater than three hours these days, yet I by no means found any fascinating article like yours. It?¦s lovely worth sufficient for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the net will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

  15. The next time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to learn, however I truly thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly fix if you happen to werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *