So apparently a work permit and a police permit are required for any public talk as long as one of the speakers is a foreigner, even when the said speaker is participating via skype. The police finally got me down to take a statement for organising a public talk last month with Hong Kong’s Joshua Wong and 2 other local panellists, Seelan Palay and Kirsten Han. Needless to say, the permit was not granted, but my co-organiser Rachel Zeng and I went ahead anyway because it was a harmless and straightforward discussion about social movements.
I must say I was very impressed by the officer’s professionalism during the questioning. I was offered a bottle of water and asked if I had breakfast. I joked that if the interrogation took too long, he’d have to buy me lunch. We shared a few light moments together. It felt like the beginning of a bromance. It turned serious of course, when the questioning started. But throughout the 45 minute interview, he was so nice and even apologised that he was taking longer than usual to print my statement.
When it ended, he walked me out to the lift and thanked me for my cooperation. Finally I asked him “don’t you think it’s a waste of time investigating such cases? Aren’t there real criminals out there to catch?” He looked a little embarrassed and laughed a little nervously. Then he composed himself and said “the police takes every case seriously”. So pro hor! #ahometeamtobeproudof #kudostoourboysinblue