Interview with David C, on secondment.
For 20 years, I-OnAsia has worked with fantastic companies, providing them with private security services in Hong Kong. After the risk profile in Hong Kong changed in 2019, our team saw an uptick in demand for us to place great consultants on-site at client offices to support new initiatives.
Recently, David C joined our team. He now works on secondment. David has a background in law enforcement and corporate security. He has now rolled up his sleeves to develop a local security program that fits the current threat level.
We recently sat down with David to get his views and opinions.
David, how should chief security officers be thinking about Hong Kong?
I think the risk profile in Hong Kong has changed over the last year. The possibility of transport for staff and goods being interrupted is now a distinct possibility. At the extreme end there is a possibility of being caught up in sometimes seemingly indiscriminate violence. Much of this can be mitigated by having a clearer idea of what protest action may occur, and what responses it might entail.
As far as current day Hong Kong is concerned, I think that it is sensible to review, and take steps to have workable contingency plans relating to employee, facilities and logistics safety. There is no need for a massive programme – as I keep telling overseas contacts, it is not Saigon in 1975. Prudent, common sense based, reasonable steps can be taken, and safety orientated procedures created to ensure employee safety.
What are we seeing from the response to Covid 19 in Hong Kong?
Covid 19 has already created stricter controls on all sorts of access to buildings, and on a more detailed requirement to establish travel and contact history amongst employees and business visitors. There is a need for many of the quickly implemented, singularly sensible procedures to be reviewed and perhaps consolidated into a more coherent, perhaps more sustainable ‘good practice’. Where ‘working from home’ has proved practical for some businesses, or parts of some businesses there is also room for this to be further developed, including IT security that will let people work with confidence in such circumstances. There is a genuine concern for the safety of employees both from the Covid-19 dangers, and the risk of inconvenience.
David, before you joined I-OnAsia you were responsible for building out an anti-fraud program in China on behalf of a large Asian company. What did you learn?
There appears to be tremendous scope for companies operating in China to take steps to reduce their vulnerability to fraud and other types of internal misconduct. There are some practical peculiarities about operating in China. However there remains tremendous scope for sensible, proportionate fraud prevention and due diligence work. Those experienced in the system can often bring quick results in dealing with specific problems and in attempts to modify unhealthy corporate culture. A useful starting point is the (now slightly dated, but nonetheless relevant) Book “Risky Business In China” by J. Gordon. It lays out the unusual problems and gives outlines of action that can be taken and what measures can be put in place - - preferably by experienced staff or contractors to mitigate much of what is mitigatable.
David, you retired from the Hong Kong Police Force as Detective Superintendent in 2015. What can you tell others overseas about the Force?
The HKPF has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the most professional Police Forces in Asia, and indeed the World. Hong Kong has a very low crime rate, and in part this is due to the performance of the Police. Unlike many Forces it did not retreat from responding to every call from the public as a matter of course. In dealing with the year of protests and violent demonstrations, the Force has acted with tremendous restraint. An objective assessment of how any other Force, anywhere in the World would have reacted to the violence including attacks on Police Married Quarters, the doxing and bullying of family members, including children, and the level of violence (petrol bombs, IEDs) on the part of a faction of the demonstrators shows how restrained the Police have been in their use of Force.
There has been a concentrated, and in some ways a successful international attempt to undermine the Force with outrageous claims of ‘brutality’ which have no bearing in reality. Much of the Western press coverage, by hitherto trusted sources has been either lazy journalism, or so one sided as to be risible. The Force, despite some early leadership hiccoughs, continues to act with restraint that is quite remarkable. Mistakes or acts involving breaches of a very high standard of discipline have taken place, but are so few and far between that they attract disproportionate coverage.
Thank you, David! We are so pleased to have you on our team!
Please contact I-OnAsia if you have more questions about our security services in Hong Kong, including the supply of experienced security officers on secondment.