Goodbye, ‘4pm Hui Sir’: ‘I will now recap in English’ police officer retires

Steve Hui is presented with a puzzle of him next to a clock showing the time 4pm, a nod to a nickname he earned during the Umbrella Movement protests, “4pm Hui Sir”. Screengrab via Apple Daily video.

The police officer who became an internet sensation during the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests will step down from the city’s police force today.

Fifty-four-year-old Steve Hui Chun-tak, the chief superintendent of the police public relations bureau, retires after 31 years with the force.

However, in the minds of the public, it will likely be his role as police force’s main spokesman during the 79-day occupation movement in 2014 that he will be most remembered for.

Hui rose to internet stardom for his daily 4pm press briefings during the Umbrella Movement protests, earning him the nickname “4pm Hui Sir.”

As there were a lot of international media outlets covering the protests at the time, Hui would deliver his remarks first in Cantonese, and then switch to English by saying “I will now recap in English.” — six words that became a catchphrase deployed in many a meme.

Screengrab via Apple Daily video.

Netizens also made fun of Hui’s facial expressions, his overuse of the words “I appeal” in English, and his pronunciation of “thank you” (“fan q”).

Hui’s oft-repeated catchphrase spawned memes, and a fan page that at its height attracted more than 50,000 fans, EJ Insight reported. (It now has a paltry 721 fans, yikes!)

Steve Hui immortalised as a “sticker” on Telegram, an instant-messaging service often referred to as a more secure version of WhatsApp.

Hui’s internet stardom even spawned electro house remixes, including this crafty little number featured in an Apple Daily report about Hui urging protesters not to block certain vehicles, in this case trams.

In a bid to boost the Hong Kong police force’s popularity, Hui also launched the force’s Facebook page, where the first video featured him alongside an avatar version of himself doing a news brief at, you guessed it, 4pm.

Speaking to reporters at a special press conference yesterday, Hui called the period the most unforgettable and challenging experience during his time as a police officer, RTHK reports.

The sheer magnitude of the movement, in which activists campaigning for democratic reforms block of and occupy major thoroughfares, made “collecting all related information” and updating the public on “police efforts” tough.

He also admitted that he was unhappy and uncomfortable amid what he called “unreasonable and impolite accusations against police during the protests.”

Although the use of pepper spray and tear gas on Occupy protesters marred police relations with the public, Hui said he was positive that the city’s police still had good relations with Hongkongers.

So what does Hui himself actually think about netizens poking fun at him and his catchphrase?

“I had no hard feelings about what netizens said about me,” he told reporters.

Good sport.

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