Civil servant Secrets broke the news for the fourth time in the headlines of the union: play an alternative supervisory role, materialize arrests or deter anonymous complaints

Liang Choting.Figure: Screenshot of Cable News

[Yahoo News Report]After the administrator of “Secrets for Civil Servants” was detained by the National Security Agency, the page disappeared immediately, and several Secrets pages on the Internet were also closed one after another. In an interview with Yahoo News, Liang Choting, director-general of the Civil Service Union Federation, pointed out that the online Secrets page is full of gossip and gossip. He believes that this incident will deter civil servants from making complaints anonymously in the future. “Yahoo News” checked the information and found that the news clues disclosed by “civil servant Secrets” had made headlines at least four times in the past six years.

The National Security Department on Tuesday (August 9) detained two administrators of “Secrets for Civil Servants,” accusing them of “publishing posts with seditious intent to arouse or intensify hatred and hostility among residents of different classes in Hong Kong.” The incident triggered a chain effect, and the “HA Secrets” discussing the work of the Hospital Authority, the “CUHK Secrets” about the campus life of the Chinese University, and even the “Parents Secrets” were also closed.

The effectiveness of “Ghost Letter” complaints is doubtful

Liang Choting, director-general of the Federation of Civil Servants’ Trade Unions, pointed out that there have always been grievance channels within the civil service system, including the employee relations department and the complaint group. However, some civil servants may not appeal through official channels for fear of disturbing the management or even affecting their careers. Some informal complaint channels have emerged, such as anonymous complaint letters commonly known as “ghost letters”.

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He recalled that the management ignored the “ghost letter” in the early years, and it took more than ten years to follow up, depending on how to judge the authenticity of the content. He described the “secrets of civil servants” that have popped up in recent years, full of “back-office” and “gossip” news, but occasionally become an alternative complaint channel. The person who reported it) just wants to do this and it works, and he doesn’t believe that some departments are willing to do it when the “ghost letter” comes out.”

Leung Chau-ting analyzed that the “Secrets” page for civil servants sometimes has an alternative “supervision” role, “Of course, you have to depend on the facts of the case. Usually, if you (the media) are out of the street, if you expose your remarks, you will A lot of people will pay attention.” He reminded that civil servants may have to sign confidential documents according to their scope of work, and even if they do not sign, it does not mean that they are free to disclose, “The side is confidential, it’s not about you, it’s the government. Forget it, do you sometimes know?”

Urge civil servants to seek help from unions

He believes that it is difficult for the administrators of such special pages to distinguish the authenticity of the content of the reports, and there is a certain risk in publishing such information. ……You don’t come forward to a private organization, I have always talked about the special industry of the civil service department, and many people are restricted.” He suggested that colleagues who encounter unfair treatment can seek help from the union, and the union will act as the middleman to deal with the management.

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Looking through past media reports, at least 42 news clues from January 2017 to the end of July 2022 came from the posts of “Secrets of Civil Servants”. These “revelations” made 4 headlines (see table). During the visit of the Indonesian President to Hong Kong in 2017, a frontline staff of the Civil Aviation Department anonymously broke the news that police anti-terrorist vehicles interfered with the air traffic control system, which was followed up by many media; An anonymous complaint alleging the collective sale and transfer of CSD staff made the headlines of “Oriental”. After that, Ming Pao investigated and revealed that the correctional officers’ investigation was conducted with the same handwriting, which was suspected of violating the individual filling regulations, which also made headlines.

The revelations of “Civil Service Secrets” even affected the careers of individual civil servants (see table). For example, someone posted an anonymous post in January this year, referring to a gathering of nearly 20 Civil Engineering Department staff on a yacht, wishing the then Director of the Sustainable Lantau Office, Fang Xuecheng, to be promoted to Director of Civil and Expansion. After the incident was exposed, Fang Xuecheng was not promoted until May. The post of Director.