Tribute to Curtis Cheng

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.24 p.m.]: Two weeks ago Curtis Cheng, a civilian employee of the NSW Police Force, was murdered outside his place of work. Mr Cheng was greatly loved by his family and was a well-known and respected figure at the NSW Police Headquarters in Parramatta. He was born in Hong Kong and later moved to the United Kingdom, where he was a student at the University of Bath. After graduating as an esteemed student in economics, he moved back to his home town of Hong Kong as a lecturer in economics—a field he was deeply passionate about. After finishing work as a lecturer, he decided to move to Australia. He was regarded as a financial expert and was a member of CPA Australia for 36 years. In 1997 he began work with the NSW Police Force, and continued to work there until his death.

Mr Cheng was married to Selina, with whom he raised two children, Alpha and Zilvia. It is especially tragic that the perfect life of Mr Cheng, surrounded by a loving family with grown-up children and only a year away from retirement, was cut short so tragically. He died for no good reason. My thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, friends and colleagues. After watching the harrowing video footage that emerged of that fateful day, I was struck by the courage of the special constables at Police Headquarters in Parramatta. It is clear that the special constables put their own lives at serious risk in attempting to protect the community and their colleagues. I commend those special constables for their actions on that fateful day.

The work of the New South Wales police is vital to the safety of our community and we must always remember and acknowledge the sacrifices that officers make to preserve our way of life. I especially acknowledge the tireless work of civilian police employees and special constables. I have had the privilege of meeting, and have as friends, many who live in Prospect, and I commend them for their work and dedication. A number of these civilian employees knew Mr Cheng personally and are deeply distraught at the loss of a colleague. I can only imagine what they feel when they look towards his now empty desk in the office. The Prospect electorate is particularly important for civilian employees of the NSW Police Force. The command centre of the Crime Scene Services Branch, led by Superintendent Mark Sweeney, is based in the suburb of Pemulwuy and many of its employees live locally in the surrounding suburbs. Within the NSW Police Force, it is known as "Pemulwuy Labs".

The laboratories conduct forensic imagery, fingerprinting and document examination, and are the home of the Crime Scene Logistics Unit. About 200 police and civilians are employed there. The hundreds of employees at the Crime Scene Services Branch headquarters dedicate their careers to finding justice for victims of crime and, on occasion, those falsely accused of committing a crime. Without the work of civilian employees and special constables, the New South Wales police would not be able to work effectively and maintain the highly regarded reputation that the NSW Police Force has both domestically and in international law enforcement. The people of New South Wales, particularly the people of Prospect, are thankful for their service.

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