Hong Kong protester ‘beaten by police’ slams case delay
A Hong Kong pro-democracy protester apparently assaulted by police — in a beating captured on video — slammed the authorities Friday for failing to charge his attackers and demanded they are officially identified.
It is six months since the attack on Civic Party activist Ken Tsang, footage of which was beamed around the world at the height of mass protests for free leadership elections in Hong Kong.
But little progress has been made in the case, which rocked the reputation of the normally respected police force.
Tsang’s lawyers appeared in court Friday to apply for a judicial review, which would ask for the officers’ names to be disclosed to Tsang and allow him to pursue the case privately, they said.
A public investigation is ongoing after police arrested seven officers for “assault occasioning actual bodily harm” in November.
A spokesman told AFP they remain suspended from duty. They are yet to be charged.
“A private prosecution is our last resort,” Tsang told AFP ahead of the hearing.
“It’s difficult to understand why the police still need more time for their investigation.
“The whole process didn’t treat me like a victim, but like a criminal. I’m just left asking ‘why?’”
Video footage aired by local television network TVB showed a group of plainclothes officers hauling a handcuffed Tsang to a dark corner in a protest-hit public park in the early hours of Oct. 15 last year.
One officer stands over him and punches him, as three others are seen repeatedly kicking him.
Tsang’s lawyer Gerard McCoy questioned why the case had taken so long in court Friday.
“If one reversed the situation and seven demonstrators had beaten up a police officer and were caught on film, is it vaguely prob- able that after six months they would not have been facing justice?” he asked.
Department of Justice counsel Johnny Mok said that police were still working on the identification issue and that they wanted Tsang to help them.
But McCoy said that Tsang had been held “face down by the police officers” and any identification procedure six months on could harm his case.
It was “strikingly obvious” who the attackers were, given the visual footage, he said.
Tsang has identified two officers — who he says were from the same group — involved in a later alleged assault at a police station after he was detained that night.
Those officers refused to stand up or open their eyes during the identification procedure, McCoy said.
“We feel extremely angry and upset about the delay,” Tsang said after the hearing.
“It’s not just my case, it’s about civic rights of Hong Kong citizens. “We’re looking for justice.” Mok argued that it was not appropriate for Tsang’s case to be dealt with through judicial review proceedings.
Judge Thomas Au retired to consider whether to give leave for the review to go ahead, without giving a date for the next hearing.