The Hong Kong Police Force was officially established on May 1st, 1844 with a strength of 32 officers. Today, the Force has over 40,000 personnel, which gives HK the second-highest police-to-citizen ratio in the world.
As HK was somewhat of a ‘wild west’ and ‘rough and tumble’ place in the late 1800s, many members of the force were equally rough individuals. Thus, Victorian concepts of management and discipline were set to raise standards. The ethnic composition of the inaugural force consisted of mixed Dian Chinese, Dian European nationals and Indians.
The fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 brought civil unrest, and the start of World War I in 1914 saw many European officers return to the UK.
Disorder continued throughout the 20s and 30s and the mechanism of government was left in a shambles after the Japanese invasion and retreat.
During the 40s, Pakistani and Shandong Chinese were recruited as constables and the first female inspector joined in 1949.
The 50s were boom time for Hong Kong and it experienced waves of immigration, mostly from the mainland.
During this era, vehicles were painted black and white, or black with a white roof, with red and blue stripes – all with the Police crest badge…
Civil disorder reigned once more for much of the 60s, as pro-Communist activists and left-wing workers instigated long and bloody riots, bombings and murders.
Mobile police stations were rolled out in the late Sixties…
In 1969, the Queen granted the HK Police a Royal Charter following their handling of the 1967 riots. They were then known as the Royal Hong Kong Police Force until Handover in 1997.
Despite years of loyalty and efficiency, corruption had been growing since the inception of the force. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was established in 1974.
It promoted firm police management, removed powerful figures, changed the entire culture of the Force, instigated amnesties and fought against greed.
Over the years, the proportion of Chinese staff within the Hong Kong Police increased. For many decades, the senior leadership had remained exclusively European, though this began to change in the 1970s.
The first appointment of a local Chinese as Commissioner of Police was made in 1989.
Today, the Force has a mightier range of vehicle options at their disposal.
The fleet includes unmarked police vehicles, used to catch and arrest criminals in the act and for surveillance. Most models are the discrete and high performance BMW 5 Series.
Since 2008, the Force have brought in the use of battenburg markings for new police vehicles of the Traffic Branch Headquarters. In addition, these new vehicles show the police crest on the front part of the vehicle, which the Force had not used on vehicles for two decades.
The Force has also ordered 10 new environmentally-friendly electric scooters…
The current uniform…
For more historical entries on Hong Wrong, click here. Photographic favourites include…
- 1000+ ‘Before and After’ Photos of Old & New Hong Kong
- A Brief Visual History of Yau Ma Tei Theatre
- A Brief Visual History of Kowloon Walled City
- A Brief Visual History of the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower
- A Brief Visual History of HK’s Old Airport, Kai Tak
- Evolution of the Hong Kong Skyline – a Visual History
- Mainland Refugees Fleeing Famine Rejected by HK
- Cool Vintage Hong Kong Tourism Posters
- Pictures of Hong Kong in 1972
- Newly Unearthed Photos of 1950s Hong Kong
- More Vintage Photos of Old Hong Kong
- The 1967 Hong Kong Riots
- Unseen Royal Geographic Photos
- The ‘Great Chinese Takeaway’ – the 1997 Handover
- Rare Shots from Inside the Old Kowloon Walled City