Former Hong Kong top national security cop denies buying sex

A former head of Hong Kong’s national security police who was caught at a massage parlour during an anti-vice raid gave witness testimony on Tuesday that he never paid for sex.

Frederic Choi, 51, was second-in-command at the police’s national security department, which was established in July 2020 after Beijing imposed a national security law folloiwng large-scale, often violent, anti-government protests.

A police raid in March 2021 found Choi to be among the patrons of Viet Spa, an unlicensed massage parlour in the Wan Chai neighbourhood — just a short walk away from the police headquarters — that authorities accused of offering sexual services.

A probe by the justice department quickly cleared Choi of any illegal behaviour and he was later reassigned to be the head of police training and discipline.

Choi told the court on Tuesday that no one at Viet Spa had offered him sex for money and he never received any such services during his four or five visits there over a period of around nine months.

He was speaking as a defence witness in the court case against three women and one man, who faced multiple charges related to keeping a vice establishment.

Earlier in the trial, another police officer testified that he participated in three sting operations where Viet Spa masseuses offered to perform explicit acts.

Choi said on Tuesday that he went to the massage parlour in his private capacity and had no knowledge or control of the police raid that ended up interrupting his visit.

Each of his hour-long visits involved receiving the same service from a woman in a room, and he had no reason to believe sexual services were on offer, Choi added.

But he agreed with the prosecutor that he had limited knowledge, as he did not know the venue’s manager and staff.

Choi’s reputation was hit following the raid, coming at a time when Hong Kong authorities were trying to rebuild the public image of law enforcement following clashes in 2019 between officers and pro-democracy protesters.

Government lawyers earlier tried to restrict the defence’s access to unredacted security camera footage from Viet Spa and the 10-page statement Choi made to the police.

Last year, Hong Kong’s police chief Raymond Siu said he remained “confident” in Choi’s working ability.

The case was adjourned until September 23 for closing arguments.