David Jordan, a British born in Singapore and raised in the UK, joined the Hong Kong Police in 1992. He assumed command of the Marine Region in 2020 upon promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police. During his career he has served in the VIP Protection Unit and in charge of the Witness Protection Unit. He has also served as District Commander of Tai Po District and as the Commandant of the Police Tactical Unit. Mr Jordan met his wife in Hong Kong, and live in the city with their children.
In our written interview, we asked about why he, an expat, chose to come and stay, and what are the most memorable moments and biggest challenges in his 30 years of service (and counting) in Hong Kong Police. He wrote his heartfelt answers down word by word, and we are pleased to share them with our readers. This article is collected by Bauhina Magazine to be published on August 1.
Interview by Mali Zhou
I was born in Singapore as my father was serving there in the Royal Navy; however I soon returned to the UK for my education and joined the Hong Kong Police in 1992. In fact, I’d had the opportunity to visit earlier in the 1990’s and worked with the police at that time which initiated my interest in the possibility of working and living in Hong Kong. The idea of working in a new and exciting Asian city was strong and I successfully applied and eventually started my service in Tsim Sha Tsui after completing 9 months training in 1993.
Professionally, there have been
too many highlights
There have been too many highlights, in the early years ranging from disturbances in the Vietnamese refugee camps in the early 1990’s, to working alongside officers from around the world for 5 years in VIP Protection including several officials, including the President, from the Mainland and numerous Kings, Queens and Government leaders. Helping to set up the Counter Terrorism Response Unit and policing the 2008 Olympic Equestrian Events before being a key commander in many, many challenges to the overall safety and order in Hong Kong as a rise of large scale disturbances over the years from 2012 culminating in the wide-spread and prolonged rioting seen in 2019.
Outside my involvement in public order situations, probably the highlights have been the 1st Anniversary (1998) when I was involved with the visits to Hong Kong by the Presidents of China and The USA on consecutive days; the 20th Anniversary where I was in charge of President Xi’s visits to the Police facility at Pat Heung followed by his visit to the Shek Kong base was a phenomenal professional challenge but one we all took great pride in completing. My involvement in establishing the Counter Terrorism Response Unit which continues to develop today and provide a vital tactical response to any potential terrorist act gives me great pride in that achievement.
The resilience and dedication of the men
and women I work alongside is something
Hong Kong should be proud of
Since 1997 the Hong Kong Police has continued to serve the people of Hong Kong; offering support through times of unprecedented disorder while continuing to provide an immediate response to a myriad of policing issues from search and rescues to major criminal investigations. The service offered to the public has remained true and highly professional as befits Asia’s Finest and, despite attempts to drive a narrative against the police, we continue to maintain a high level of service to every citizen and continue to contribute greatly to a city of safety and provide professionally responsive policing service.
I’m fortunate to have had some incredible professional opportunities from my career and the diversity of these opportunities alongside the spirit that is alive in the city, have allowed me to embrace the challenges and create lifelong memories.
Police officers are faced with daily challenges and I’ve been fortunate to be involved in many of the biggest challenges to law and order in Hong Kong over the last several decades; all of these are personal challenges on a professional level but the constant element is that you are continually working as part of a focused, highly dedicated and professional team of officers who trust each other and will come together, regardless of the personal dangers, to maintain the integrity of law and order in the city. This has been, and will be, my lasting memory from my time in service to the people of Hong Kong - the resilience and dedication of the men and women I have had the fortune to work alongside is something that Hong Kong should be proud of.
“Make sure your men and women
get home to their families”
The professional challenges have been varied yet have all added to the exceptional pride I have had from all my postings and the ever developing respect for all with who I work alongside. The operational challenges we faced in 2019 would be hard to compare as we dealt with unprecedented rioting over a very prolonged period. The fact that as a Police Force we would deploy over prolonged periods yet still allow Hong Kong to generally function and a large majority of people to be able to continue their daily routine is a great sense of pride that I truly feel should be the envy of other law enforcement agencies, few of whom have faced such prolonged violent assaults. As a police commander I never imagined my briefings would regularly include the phrase “make sure your men and women get home to their families” but this period of real threat to the men and women of the police was unprecedented.
This whole period also introduced the prevalence of “doxxing” to myself, my family and towards many in the Police; the targeting of individuals, frequently by anonymous social media users, against people doing their professions has now become commonplace. This is a very difficult issue to deal with as it invades your personal space and crosses over the line of work and private life. The targeting of my wife and kids during this period was a source of real anxiety especially when it moves from social media to graffiti etc targeting your home. Everyone in the Hong Kong Police suffered from this social stigmatism and, sadly, it still remains a real challenge to many of us following the events of 2019. My respect for my colleagues and friendships developed during this period (both within the Force and from civilian friends) will remain with me forever.
Professionally, while 2019 riots will be the most challenging and rewarding, I also had to deal with the catastrophic emotional loss of a friend and colleague following an incident at sea in 2021. Kary LAM was a friend who offered so much to life and was a person of positivity and honor. Dealing with her loss was a challenge I could not have dealt with if not for the support of family, friends and colleagues. She was a credit to all that is good in the Hong Kong Police and her memory will live forever.
Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Police
Force I serve have been a major
component of the majority of my life
This July, Hong Kong celebrates 25 remarkable years since the reunification and I’ve been fortunate to call this place home throughout this period and will do into the future. As with all great cities, it has faced challenges from social and economic and political sides, yet has always overcome and continued to develop.
The safety of this city many people take for granted; it is regularly ranked as a top 10 safest cities and this is one of pride to us all. While acknowledging this from a professional aspect, it brings real pride to me as I have been allowed to let my children grown up, travel and socialize freely across the city without the fear of crime that is prevalent in many other cities. The mass transportation system is efficient and safe and this, plus the fact that the city scape is surrounded by easily accessible natural beauty mountains and coastline; combined with a lack of fear of crime, contribute to a very high quality of life if you are willing to embrace all this city offers. I cannot imagine my family and kids having the same opportunities elsewhere; it’s our home.
Hong Kong was back then, and still is today a phenomenal city of opportunity, challenge and variety - a place incomparable with any other city. The vibrancy of the culture, its history and “can-do” spirit has barely changed over the last decades and I have never once regretted making this city my home.
I must admit, similar to many other expats, I did not envisage being in Hong Kong for the majority of my life, meeting my wife and having a family here; but once Hong Kong becomes part of your life, it is a very difficult thing to leave. Hong Kong has offered me (and my family) a huge number of opportunities and my children who were all born here, have embraced all the elements that make it such a fabulous place to live. I am also fortunate to be part of an organization that is proud of its position and I have the privilege of working alongside colleagues who have become friends and represent the best qualities of professional law enforcement.
Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Police Force I serve, have been a major component of the majority of my life and I hope will continue to be for the future - my family, colleagues and the vibrancy of this city all contribute to this being a very special place to work and call home.
(The article has been lightly edited for content and clarity, which is collected by Bauhina Magazine August issue.)