Shocking footage from a security camera released on Tuesday shows two police officers attacking a man while he was strapped to a hospital bed. A lawmaker described their actions in the New Territories in late June as torture and humiliation.
Police confirmed at its daily press briefing on Tuesday that two police had been arrested for assault causing actual bodily harm.
Lam Cheuk-ting, a lawmaker from the Democratic Party, said he obtained surveillance camera footage shot in a ward at North District Hospital after receiving an appeal for help from a 62-year-old man who said he was tortured by police officers on June 26.
The 20-minute video shown at the press conference shows a man surnamed Chung restrained on a bed in a private ward. Two uniformed officers stood by the man, put on gloves and slapped his face many times. They used Chung’s shirt to cover his mouth and nose, slapped his head, then poked and pressed his eyes.
One of the police pulled his pants down and punched him several times in the genitals. Both officers also used their batons to poke and prod the man.
The two cops allegedly threatened to harm the man’s wife and his two sons, reading out their names and home address. The victim felt worried and didn’t tell his two sons what had happened when they visited him in the hospital. He only told his son what he endured when he got home after he was released on bail.
The man complained that he suffered a torn ligament in the ring finger of his right hand, multiple bruises and was left bleeding from the mouth.
Lam said the man was drunk and had been arrested for allegedly assaulting police. His sons said he was arrested for assault and taken to the hospital because he was drunk and agitated.
One of the man’s sons said at the press conference that his father had shouted “black cops” before the assault, accusing the police of being triad gangsters. It is not known if his remark stemmed from protests which had begun a couple of weeks earlier.
Lam described the case as one of the darkest pages in the history of Hong Kong police. He said the officers had abused their power to torture the victim and to humiliate him.
Officials at North District Hospital confirmed that they had provided the footage to the MP Lam.
In a statement, North District Hospital said the man was agitated when he was escorted by the police to its accident and emergency department on June 25. He was sent to a “disturbed patient room” and guarded by police.
It said medical staff checked on the patient regularly but didn’t notice anything special and the patient was discharged the next day. The hospital said the patient didn’t make any complaint to medical staff during his stay. It said it would cooperate with any police investigation.
Chief superintendent Tse Chun-chung of the Police Public Relations Branch said they received a complaint from Chung’s son at Wan Chai Police Headquarters in late June. They had tried to reach Chung and his son four times but failed, he said.
On Tuesday morning, Lam showed footage of the incident at a press conference. Police later arrested the two officers involved. Tse emphasized that no officers are allowed to abuse their powers.
In a statement, the police force said they would follow up on the case in a fair, just and impartial manner. The case has now been taken up by the Regional Crime Unit in New Territories South for criminal investigation.