HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of HK Police Vehicles & Uniforms

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.

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19th Century: Via Sing Tao

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.

Early 20th Century: via Wikicommons

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.

1920s: Detective Unit. Via police.gov.hk

Disorder continued throughout the 20s and 30s and the mechanism of government was left in a shambles after the Japanese invasion and retreat.

1920s: via British Hong Kong FB

Emergency Unit car in post-war years. Via police.gov.hk

During the 40s, Pakistani and Shandong Chinese were recruited as constables and the first female inspector joined in 1949.

1940s: Sikh officers were allowed turbans. Via police.gov.hk and gwulo.com

1948: via police.gov.hk

The 50s were boom time for Hong Kong and it experienced waves of immigration, mostly from the mainland.

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1950: ‘Commer’ truck-based armoured car. Via Sing Tao.

1950s-60s: via police.gov.hk

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…

1950s: Heavy police vehicle. Via police.gov.hk

1950s-60s, via British Hong Kong FB

1950s: ‘Norton’ 500 c.c. police motorcycle with side-car. Via police.gov.hk

1950s: Central Divisional Superintendent’s car. Via police.gov.hk

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.

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1960s: The adorable Police Morris Mini accommodated two officers and a police dog. via Sing Tao.

1960s: via Sing Tao.

In the midst of the riots and unrest, the Force rapidly expanded their fleet of vehicles.

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1960s: Police Patrol Car. Via Sing Tao.

1960s: Via British Hong Kong FB

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1960s: Land Rover. Via Sing Tao.

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1969 – the new Traffic Patrol Police. Via Sing Tao.

Mobile police stations were rolled out in the late Sixties…

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1970: Via Sing Tao

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.

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1970s: Armoured police vehicle. Via Sing Tao.

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1970s: Downtown Wanchai. Via Sing Tao.

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.

1974: British Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier at the Queen’s Birthday Parade. Via Topsy Wong.

It promoted firm police management, removed powerful figures, changed the entire culture of the Force, instigated amnesties and fought against greed.

1970s. Via British Hong Kong FB

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.

1983: Ford Transit minibus attending a fire on Hennessy Road. via Ian Fuller on Flickr

The first appointment of a local Chinese as Commissioner of Police was made in 1989.

2010: Mercedes-Benz Vario 815D Hong Kong Police. Via Daryl Chapman on Flickr.

Today, the Force has a mightier range of vehicle options at their disposal.

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2010: Armoured Unimog personnel carrier. Via Wikicommons.

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2006: GKN Saxon AT105 APC. Via Dennis Chan, Wikicommons.

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.

2012: Unmarked BMW police vehicle. Via swat_hk on Flickr.

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.

2008: Via Wikicommons

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2008: An adorable Hyundai Atos, specially designed for islands and Victoria Peak. Via Wikicommons.

The Force has also ordered 10 new environmentally-friendly electric scooters…

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2012: Electric Police Scooter. Via 1.bp.blogspot.com

The current uniform…

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For more historical entries on Hong Wrong, click here. Photographic favourites include…

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