HK: Why police should not blog

I used to hear the saying that the pen is mightier than sword. We might as well throw a single tweet, Facebook update or blog entry into the mix. That’s because a single unsuspecting update on one’s social media profile can produce unimaginable shockwaves, could cost careers and permanently tarnish reputations.

News article featuring photos of female police officers. Photo credit: AFP

In Hong Kong, where social media is pervasive, people need to think twice before posting anything online. Case in point is what happened after a female member of the Hong Kong police force based in Sham Shui Po posted photos on her blog featuring her and other uniformed officers pointing guns at each other.

It is embarrassing for an organization the public looks up to with high regard Quite possibly, there were no guidelines on how to use the Internet beyond working hours. Still, for an organization built with discipline and self-control, this shouldn’t have happened.

This is not the first time the reputation of the police force has been tarnished due to acts of its members. Last year, a newspaper published a photograph of an officer posing with one of his relatives pointing a handgun at him. In 2009, two officers pictured each other in romantic poses while they were on patrol.

The Internet has been a very convenient way to connect people but it’s also a very sensitive avenue to share classified information. Recently, 28 police internal documents were leaked online. Seven of which included tactics employed by police during kidnapping and other emergency situations.