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Regina Ip

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Regina Ip
Regina Ip

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (葉劉淑儀) is a formerly prominent government official of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). She was the first woman appointed as Secretary for Security who headed disciplinary service. She was also the first principal official to resign from Chief Executive of Hong Kong Tung Chee-hwa's accountability government - only one year into its operation.

Biography

Educated in the University of Hong Kong, Ip joined the government in 1975 and started as an administrative officer. She took various bureaucratic positions before she was appointed as Director of Industry Department in September 1995.

In August 1996, she was appointed Director of Immigration, a post usually filled by officials within the service. From July 1, 1997, the date of the territory's handover to the People's Republic of China from British colonial rule, she held the same position and transformed to the new era. In July 1998, she was promoted as the Secretary of Security.

As Tung's accountability government started operation in July 1, 2002, she stayed on the position and became one of the 14 principal officials and a member of Executive Council. Under her leadership were 63,000 civil servants, which account for one third of the total population of the civil service body.

The sharp-tongued, single mother had piloted the controversial bill Article 23, but resentment built up quickly when she rebuffed critics at every turn and rejected calls for more consultation. Faced with the imminent passage of the bill, half a million people marched in the streets of Hong Kong on July 1, 2003 to denounce the law and the government was finally forced to postpone it.

Ip submitted her resignation letter on June 25, 2003, citing personal reasons. She officially left her post on July 25, 2003, ending her 28 years government service. The chief executive tried to persuade Ip to stay but she did not change her mind.

Ip, one of the highest-ranking women in the Hong Kong government, said in a statement she deeply regretted that the legislative work to protect national security had not been completed as scheduled. Ip was at one time the most popular government official. She was highly praised for her industriousness and her accountability to Tung's government, but her blunt manner was behind her downfall. She has gone through many thorny issues, including prosecuting protesting students using the Public Order Ordinance and the right of abode saga. Ip has strongly defended the government's position in keeping out illegal immigrants from mainland China since the 1997 handover. Her character was underlined by her open admission that she disliked the nickname "Broomhead" but would not change her hairstyle just to please her critics. her popularity took a plunge she took on the task to promote Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23, the state security bill, in September 2002. Her popularity began to drop when one remark after another contradicted public sentiment. Her popularity ratings reached an all time low, being one of the lowest rated figures at the peak of the Article 23 incident. Her responses to public bordered on insults and many viewed them as arrogant and condescending.

She earned the esteem of many colleagues and even praise from Beijing's leaders. Since 2002, she has become such a controversial figure that detractors have resorted to taking shots at her bushy hairstyle, nicknaming her "Broomhead"(掃把頭). However, she has dismissed her pundits, saying: "If I can't defend even my hair, how can I defend Hong Kong?"


See also


Preceded by:
Peter Lai
Secretary for Security
1998-2003
Succeeded by:
Ambrose Lee

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