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.

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