This past Saturday morning, local newspaper South China Morning Post officially launched their new video series, Talking Post. As detailed by the Post, the talk show aims to “provide inside story from newsmakers, celebrities and opinion leaders.” Hosted by their Chief News Editor Yonden Lhatoo, the first episode featured guest Raymond Siu, Hong Kong’s current Commissioner of Police.
With the stark appearance of the Legislative Council’s blackened HKSAR emblem and a fierce drum beat, the video begins with a powerful cinematic recap of the city’s 2019 protests. An introductory montage of Raymond Siu follows, familiarising the audience with the “top cop”’s recent promotion to commissioner earlier this summer. The introduction wraps up with the mention of the National Security Law and viewers are given both visual and spoken clues as to what to expect from the upcoming conversation — what answers will these questions unlock?
Law and Order, Heart and Mind
Lhatoo begins by asking Siu about taking up the chief police role during a time where Hong Kong “becoming a police state” is among the distinct perceptions of the city. Siu, who brushed off having hesitations about his new position, denied such grim ideas of the city and its future saying, “I totally disagree with this… We only target on those people who commit crimes.” He voluntarily chisels down his focus to the National Security Law. “We only target this very small portion of people who make attempts to endanger the national security in Hong Kong. So far we have arrested 140-something.”
Towards the end of the segment, Siu also voiced his opinions on Lhatoo referring to the NSL as a “stick” (in reference to the carrot and stick metaphor) with which the police can wield. “I wouldn’t say this is a stick or carrot, I would say this is a norm,” he stresses. “This is something that all civilised countries [have].”
One of the major topics of interest that Lhatoo and Siu discuss is the challenge of winning back the “hearts and minds” of Hong Kongers who have lost their trust in both the police and the government. Lhatoo brings up the stabbing of a police officer in July that some locals celebrated, citing it as evidence that the journey of reconciliation between people and authorities would be a tremendously difficult one.
Hong Kong's new police chief has called for a fake news law and blamed the media for plunging trust in his officers in the politically polarised finance hubhttps://t.co/FKVIODBDPN
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 26, 2021
When it comes to the youth’s negative perception, Siu believes that misinformation and fake news play a big part; there is a need for “timely clarification” and transparency with policing work. Improving the relationship between the police force and the media, is also on the commissioner’s mind.
“During the black turmoil, I took the opportunity to meet some of the frontline reporters together with some of my frontline officers talking about all sort of instances that [were taking place]. We understood more about each other’s difficulties,” Siu shares. “ This is something I must admit we need to do.”
The almost 20-minute long interview is available to watch for free on SCMP’s YouTube channel or website, where the Talking Post will continue to make its return.
While there’s no official line-up for upcoming guests on the series, Lhatoo mentions interviewing the Taliban, a soft jab at the relative difficulty of getting in touch with the Hong Kong Police Force’s Special Duties Unit. Perhaps we’ll be hearing from the Afghan military organization next, a rather interesting choice to say the least.