The association was set up in Zhuhai on February 6, says the Guangdong Society and Organization website. It is said to be part of Beijing's effort to snuff out violent protests in the SAR.

Police said the association is established by the Guangdong provincial security department.

"The association aims to reinforce collaboration and exchanges as well as build friendship among the police and law enforcing departments in the Greater Bay Area, as well as to maintain the security of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau," police said.

The association's head office is on Ji Da Road, Xiangzhou district, Zhuhai - the address of the Qi'ao Island Qishawan Hotel - while the Hong Kong office's registered address is the 40th floor personnel wing of the Wan Chai police headquarters, according to the local list of registered societies.

The chairmen of four police staff associations from Hong Kong sit on the committee of the association, which will focus on vocational training, exchanges, research and work on public interest protection among officers.

Hong Kong officers will have their membership fee of 100 yuan (HK$119) covered by the police's social welfare department for the first year, sources said.

Meanwhile, a verified account on WeChat named "The Greater Bay Area Police" has been found after it was set up in November.

"Our mission is to collaborate with cross-boundary police, building a multicultural communication platform for the Greater Bay Area police," the account reads.

Rumors about the association's set up have been brewing since early 2019.

However, former police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung denied the rumor during a Legislative Council visit, saying "this is the first time I've heard about the association."