HK privacy officer says 'justifiable' for helpers to report employers for suspected crimes

Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 31 2019 10:08 AM | Updated as of Oct 31 2019 10:58 AM

HONG KONG -- It may be "justifiable" for helpers to report their employers' suspected crimes using "relevant data" if they believe an offense was committed, the privacy office of the Chinese special administrative region said Wednesday.

Encouraging helpers to report on suspected crimes is "not a privacy issue," said the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data Hong Kong, China, in response to a query from ABS-CBN News.

The Filipino Migrant Workers had described as "very irresponsible," former Hong Kong chief executive C.Y. Leung's Facebook post, wherein he encouraged helpers to report employers who keep prohibited items, such as petrol bombs, slingshots, batons as well as helmets, gas masks and goggles.

"Helpers’ reporting on suspected crimes using relevant personal data of their employers may be justifiable if they honestly believe that crimes were committed," the office said in a statement.
 
"Under this Ordinance, encouraging helpers to report on suspected crimes is not a privacy issue," it said.

As of Thursday, Leung's post had more than 2,000 reactions, 14 comments and 491 shares.

Hong Kong media reported in August that advertisements placed in Chinese newspapers in the name of "Action 803," affiliated with the website 803.hk, offered bounties from HK$100,000 (P648,000) up to HK$1 million (P6.48 million) for those suspected of taking part in violence during protests.

The domain name of the website is allegedly registered under Leung Chun-ying, a namesake of Hong Kong's ex-leader.

"Action 803" was named after the date, Aug. 3, when a Chinese flag was removed from a flagpole in popular tourist spot Tsim Sha Tsui and thrown into the sea.

Law Man-chung, 21, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service this week after pleading guilty to a charge of desecrating the national flag.

The Standard reported on Aug. 28 that Leung, who the vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top advisory body, "did not confirm if he is behind the campaign, but asked people to help spread the news".

Under Hong Kong laws, a foreign domestic worker is permitted to work with the contractual employer as approved by the Director of Immigration. Any unapproved employment with another person will make him or her liable to prosecution, and subsequent removal. Future employment applications will be subject to close scrutiny.