OCLP strongly condemns police use of extrajudicial punishment and demands investigation of use of excessive force against protesters
This morning, in an attempt to forcibly disperse the crowd outside the Chief Executive’s Office at Lung Wo Road and the adjacent underpass, police exercised excessive force. The most unacceptable incident was recorded by members of the media, in which several police officers took an already restrained protester to a dark corner and kicked and punched him. OCLP strongly condemns such behavior, which smacks of extrajudicial punishment and demands authorities investigate it. The public must not be left with the impression that selective law enforcement and collusion among public officers is condoned.
OCLP also calls on protesters to hold onto the spirit of peaceful struggle, to guard well the already occupied zones, and to avoid giving authorities’ any excuse for clearance.
According to witness accounts, Lung Wo Road and the adjacent underpass was taken over by the protesters yesterday evening, (Oct 14th). By 3 am, the police declared protesters were conducting an ‘unlawful assembly’, and told them to peacefully and orderly disperse, otherwise force would be deployed. As the police advanced, protesters stood their ground. Some police officers apparently treated such behaviour as ‘assault’, forcibly subdued protesters, and sprayed pepper spray into their faces. Protesters who had indicated compliance were nevertheless dragged away roughly. One protester, whose hands were tied behind his back, was carried to a dark corner at Tamar Park by six uniformed and plain-clothed officers. He was kicked and punched, his face and eyes bruised and swollen.
The protester, Ken Tsang Kin Chiu, was at that point under constraint and was in no position to fight back, much less prevent any clearance action on the part of the police, or pose any threat. Before a court acts, any person is presumed innocent. It is absolutely wrong for law enforcement officers to mete out extrajudicial punishment against any citizen. The police officers involved are alleged to have done exactly that and should be strongly condemned.
OCLP is concerned the police are taking the line that protesters’ refusal to leave already constitutes unlawful assembly, and that this justifies dispersal action. Such reasoning, if unchallenged, may well be applied for the dispersal of peaceful protesters at Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. This is a violation of Chief Executive Leung Chung Ying’s earlier pledge that as long as protesters refrain from charging police formations, the police are committed to maximum tolerance, to allow protesters to gather freely. OCLP regrets the police action.
15 October 2014