[ Hong Kong Policeman by Chris Emmett – a book by my dad ]

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 8:04pm

Hong Kong Policeman - Book CoverMy family has always been steadfast in their supported for me as a creative, so it is my great pleasure to be able to return the favour! My dad, Chris Emmett, who is now a published author!

You can by it from: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/9881609038
Or from the publisher: www.earnshawbooks.com/content/hong-kong-policeman

Hong Kong in 1970 was the fastest expanding city in the world, a city that lived on three levels – the expatriates, nearly always British who lived in almost complete isolation; the vast mass of Chinese residents struggling to get by and improve their lot; and finally the criminal and corrupt underside which not only fought among itself but also affected the life of everyone else in the Crown Colony through fear and corruption. Fighting to hold this in check and by and large succeeding – were the Hong Kong police force. At the officer level, many were British. Into this heady and dangerous mix steps a young Merseyside policeman, Chris Emmett. His account of those times brings vividly to life the crime, prostitution, drugs, triad street gangs and corruption that was an important part of the fabric of Hong Kong of those days.”

Edit: You can read an excerpt here: [Go to SCMP feature]

He has always been a fantastic story teller and always made family dinners entertaining, so I was so glad that he took the plunge into writing a book after his retirement! He has worked hard, I am almost surprised he hasn’t just become one with his desk! =P

My dad will also be going back to Hong Kong for the first time since he retired from the force in 1998 for a small book tour, starting out with an interview on RTHK radio on 15th Sept 2014!

As well as being an extremely proud daughter, I was thrilled when my dad asked me to do a genuine illustration commission for him inspired by scenes from his book. This was a fantastic exchange and collaboration for me. Not only was it great to be able to share my creative process with my family (as it’s not something they have experienced properly before), it was also amazing to hear more stories about my dad’s time in the Hong Kong police force. He even explained in detail the proper way to wear the Hong Kong police 70’s uniform since I had to draw it! Including how the pant leg always got creased, or how far the holster was around the belt and how some of the uniforms & weapons changed throughout the years the book spans.

I’ve been dying to show this illustration publicly =D. It’s an illustration I’m really proud, it was a challenging scene and a lot of time went into the piece for sure, but I’m really happy with the outcome! I just hope that I did his book justice.


I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy of the book!

I think my dad has passed on a lovely lesson for his daughters, it is never too late to follow your dreams =).


UPDATE 21st September, 2014

My Thoughts

I finished reading the book!

It is a fantastic blend of humour, seriousness, historically informative and an honest commentary on exparterisism and merging of cultures! I don’t normally buy and read biographies as being dyslexic I’m pretty choosy about what I put the effort into reading, yet this was a surprisingly easy read. I liked the feel that it was a collection of short stories, each focusing on a different aspect of policing.

The culture shock elements of the book definitely would resonate with anyone that has moved country. Ironically my culture shock was the other way around, born & grow up in HK to then move to the UK. I love how he doesn’t shy away from the bilingual nature of the experience. Each story I got lost in, then with injection of HK history and self reflected commentary I would be reminded this really happened!

My dad use to always say to me that HK was full of characters. Clearly that was true as the colourful array of people, both cop and crook, really made the book interesting. I am glad that he took the time to explain the different aspects of the police, as a none policeman I was worried I won’t understand anything. I will admit that I still get confused about the rankings.

I wasn’t disappointed with the comical bits. My husband often throw me funny looks when I would burst into laughter while I was ready (though now he’s reading it I’ve caught him doing the same). The pace and balance between humour, serious, action and observational is really good!

I do have a bias as a daughter, but I can honestly say I enjoyed the book, I enjoyed learning another side to HK. HK is a complex place and I think he manages to get across very well the city he will always have a special relationship with.

Media Links

Listen to a very insightful & inspiring speech, with Q&A, at the The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong – Club Lunch: An Insider’s View: The Hong Kong Police and Politics:

Radio interview RTHK (3rd down) – [Go to RTHK to listen]
SCMP interview – [Go to SCMP]


  1. avatar Renato Reyes says:

    Hi Jessica,
    My name is Renato Reyes and I do news documentaries for TVB’s The Pearl Report, a half-hour documentary programme in English aired on Monday nights on the Pearl Channel based in HK. I saw an invitation about a talk to be given by Chris Emmett about expatriate policemen in HK at the FCC. I thought his talk would make an interesting topic for a news documentary. I’d like to chat with Mr Emmett to explore the possibility of doing a story on this subject. But all this depends on whether he is still based in HK. If he is, please relay my request to him. I can be reached through my email or my numbers (m) 9555-7354 and (o) 2335-2057.

    Renato Reyes
    Supervising Producer
    The Pearl Report

  2. avatar ada ling says:

    hello jessica,

    i agree with Renato from TVB that the title is very interesting.

    i’m the buyer of hong kong eslite, may i know if the book is distributed in hong kong and whom should we contact to stock the title in our store in causewaybay?

    please e-mail me for further discussion.

    best regards,
    ada ling

  3. avatar Robert Chan says:

    At the same time Mr. Emmett moved to Hong Kong, Robert joined the British Arm, operating from Catterick North Yorkshire. If Robert writes a book on that, will need Jessica for a picture of a uniformed Asian in a UK town! Please pass this on, I like to convey the thoughts of someone who had done the reverse of Mr. Emmett.

  4. avatar Brett Williams says:

    Found info about your Dads book whilst Googling about HK Police.
    Worked with your Dad twice. First time in 1979 when he was CSI Narcotics and I was SDS Mong Kok. 2nd time he was Division Commander Sau Mau Ping in about 1988 and I was in CID (he will remember I was keen to get out of CID !). Good to work for and all around nice guy. Hope he is enjoying retirement and please send him my regards. Just ordered the book here in Australia.
    Regards Brett

    • avatar Jess says:

      I most certainly will pass on your regards =). Also nice to hear from that he was a nice boss/college. I hope you enjoy the book =).

    • avatar Chris Emmett says:

      Hi Brett – great to hear from you. I hope you’re doing well in Australia. I took the family there in 1992 and really enjoyed it. We spent some time in Cairns then took a mobile home on a road trip to Sydney – it was a wonderful adventure where we met some great people. Thanks for your kind comments; I hope you enjoy the book. All the best. Chris

  5. avatar Louis FONG says:

    May I have your permission in saving the drawing with the Hong Kong policeman in colonial police uniform ? this book should be a ‘must have’ for anyone who ever served in the then RHKP.

    • avatar Jess says:

      Im sorry for taking so long to replay, I was away over the holidays. I give you permission to save the illustration of the policeman as long as it is only for personal use. Glad you like the book.

  6. avatar Guy Shirra says:

    Dear Jess, I just discovered this. I attended your dad’s talk in the FCC, bought a book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. In fact, the book inspired me to finish my own book (The Accidental Prawn) which will be printed soon. It will have a couple of cartoons in it by both my daughters, Samantha and Fiona; perhaps you knew them? I love your painting of Chis on patrol and I am sorry it did not appear in the book. Best wishes, Guy Shirra, Sai Kung.

    • avatar Jess says:

      Hi Guy, I’m glad that my dad’s inspired you to finish off your book… keeping up momentum is always tough. Congratulations on the soon to be published book. I’m sorry i’m terrible with names, i don’t believe I knew anyone with the last name Shirra but it was a long time ago I was in Hong Kong so I apologize if have met them. Thank you for the kind words about the illustration.

  7. avatar Meric Aloise says:

    Hello Jessica, I really enjoyed your dad’s book. I purchased it last November and just read it for the second time. I was wondering if there will be a sequel or, if not, are there any other books he is likely to publish?
    Regards, Meric

    • avatar Jess says:

      I’m glad you liked it. I’m not sure of what my dads plans are for a second book, we’ll both have to wait and see =).

  8. avatar Mark says:

    Hi Ya Jess :-)
    Does the book come in hard back!!!
    I would like to order a copy for Christmas!
    Kind Regards.

  9. avatar george hepke says:

    I am buying the book. Long time now but we used to meet in the flying club, with dearly missed goot and the others.
    very best wishes

    • avatar Chris Emmett says:

      Hello George. Thanks for your interest in my book but sorry, I was never a member of the flying club. Might you be confusing me with Chris Keeping. He was a policeman and also a member of the flying club.

  10. avatar Karen Penlington Luard says:

    Dear Chris (and Jess)! – my dad was Ross Penlington – he was a Kiwi lawyer who I think was DPP and involved in the establishment of the ICAC with Prendergast and Cater (all of whom are no l
    longer with us sadly – dad died in 2001). I have just finished reading Peter Mann’s book the ‘Sheriff of Wanchai’ and he includes your book for further reading so I will be sure to order it. Chris – I moved from HK to London in 2001 and work in PR from home…have also just stepped down after 4 years as Chairman of the HK Society (there is a big bash for the 30th anniversary of the Handover at the HAC on June 30th – http://www.hkas.org.uk ) ….I have been mulling over the idea of a book on the ICAC and would love to have a chat with you about this interesting and important time…do you know if Godber is still alive in fact?

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