The sentencing of 7 police officers last month for assaulting a pro-democracy protester had ignited a push by police supporters to make insulting a police officer a criminal offence. The Law of Hong Kong criminalises resisting lawful arrest, wilfully obstructing a police officer, acting in a disorderly manner, assault, and criminal intimidation. But the law doesn’t specifically provide for insulting police officers.
What is insulting a police officer?
In Singapore, insulting a police officer is an offence. Let’s take a look at the Singaporean law as an example. Section 6 of the Protection from Harassment Act provides that:
“(1) No person shall by any means —
(a) use any indecent, threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour; or
(b) make any indecent, threatening, abusive or insulting communication,
towards or to a public servant or public service worker (referred to for the purposes of this section as the victim) in relation to the execution of the victim’s duty as such public servant or public service worker.”
Examples of an insult to a police officer
In Public Prosecutor v. Gopalan Nair  SGDC 313, the defendant, who was a solicitor, was convicted of insulting a police officer under the old section 13D of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. Mr. Nair was convicted for saying the following insults to a police officer:
“Fuck off you policeman, don’t waste my fucking time. You go and do your job properly and go catch thieves and I did nothing wrong. I am waiting for the fucking taxi”
“Fuck off, forget about my name, you fucking bastard”
“You fucking Malay bastard”
How Mr. Nair could have “politically corrected” his insults
Rather than making insults explicitly, Mr. Nair could have been more “politically correct” to avoid being prosecuted. He could have said the following instead:
“Officer, you must be extremely busy with catching criminals. As I am merely an old man waiting for a taxi, may I assist you by suggesting that our tax money be put to good use?”
“I’m sorry. You would like to know my name? I’m flattered you’d like to know me.”
“In my experience, Malays are very nice people. But I may have to reconsider that now.”
How to not insult a police officer in Hong Kong (in Cantonese)
We have just reviewed a few Singaporean examples of English insults. But if the offence is legislated in Hong Kong, Cantonese would be a likely language to be used. In this context, what would the insults look like?
屌你老母 (diu nay lo mo) meaning “Go fuck your mother”
請您替我問候您的母親 (ching nay tai ngo mun hau nay geh mo chun) meaning “Please send my kind regards to your mother”
仆你個街 (pok nay gor gai) meaning “Go fall on the street and die“
請您慢行，小心跌倒 (ching nay man hung, siu sum deet doh) meaning “Please walk slowly, and don’t fall“
屌你個撚樣 (diu nay gor lun yeung) meaning “Fuck you, dickface“
你母親一定很有氣質 (nay mo chun yut ding ho yau hei jut) meaning “Your mother must have a really good personality“
咸家鏟 (hum ga chan) meaning “Wish your entire family dies“
祝您全家富貴 (juk nay chuen ka fu kwai) meaning “Wish your entire family prosperity“
你都戇𨳊 (nay dou ong gau) meaning “You’re a fucking retard“
我原諒您 (ngo yuen leung nay) meaning “I forgive you“
屌你老母臭閪 (diu nay lo mo chau hai) meaning “Fuck your mother’s stinky cunt“
您的母親如美酒，越老越滋味 (nay geh mo chun ho chi mei jau, yuet lo yuet chi mei) meaning “Your mother is like fine wine; the more she ages, the more intense the flavour“
Cantonese is a very fluid and expressive language capable of demonstrating an array of colourful emotions. For some Cantonese speaking people, ‘swear words’ are a form of endearment. If insulting a police officer was an offence in Hong Kong, many might have difficulty in not committing this offence. The above are simply some of the most blatant examples of how Cantonese could be used seamlessly convey colourful language. But if it’s criminal to say them, make sure you use the ‘politically correct’ version if you may. Otherwise, you will be prosecuted.