Hong Kong police have rejected an allegation that officers kicked an arrested man in a back alley during a clash on the weekend and asked for witnesses to come forward. They say video footage from the scene only shows officers kicking “a yellow object”.
A video went viral on Sunday which showed a subdued man surrounded by 30 to 40 police, who appeared to be kicked in the waist in a back alley in Yuen Long in the New Territories the night before.
During the police press conference on Monday, Vasco Williams, acting senior superintendent for operations in the New Territories’ northern region, said the video, which was shot several floors above the police, was unclear.
“We don’t know what that yellow object is, but there are other videos that are more clear that show the entire incident and there is no malpractice by the police,” he said.
“The video is very out of focus. It could have been an object, a person, a bag or a vest,” the senior police officer said.
Williams said he could not be sure if the footage had been doctored. However, he did not show the other “no assault” clip at the press conference, just remarking that reporters should search on social media by themselves.
Williams urged the person who took the video in question to come forward to assist their investigation.
“Now, knowing you’ve been videoed, do you think any police officer would be that stupid to assault someone under detention? I don’t think so,” he said.
Later, he did confirm that a man, wearing a yellow shirt, was brought to the back alley and searched after he allegedly assaulted a police officer.
The arrested man is a member of “Protect Our Kids”, a group organized by Roy Chan Hoi Hing, a pastor of the Good Neighbor North District Church after the extradition bill protests started in June.
The group is made up of parents and elderly people who go to protest sites with an aim of calming down any confrontation between police and protesters. All members wear yellow vests marked “Protect Our Kids”.
Pastor Chan responded on his group’s Facebook page after the police press conference: “We spoke to the local residents, [and] what they saw was our volunteer and not an object.”
Chan also called for witnesses to contact them or send them photos or video of the “assault” for follow-up action.
Read: Video: man kicked by police in alley after arrest
Meanwhile, police also warned anti-government protesters who tried to snatch a gun from an officer. They warned protesters should be prepared to “bear the consequences” when officers respond with an appropriate level of force.
Tuen Mun melee
On Saturday, video footage was taken of a melee outside Tuen Mun Town Hall in which a police officer came under attack by a group of people dressed in black while he was detaining a suspect.
The footage showed one person snatch the officer’s baton and beat him with it while others joined in with sticks and umbrellas. Another person looked like he was trying to grab the officer’s gun, without success before running away when a group of policemen arrived to stop the attack.
Lam Chi-wai, the chairman of the Junior Police Officers’ Association, slammed “rioters” over the attack and warning that their actions were getting bolder and they had crossed a dangerous line.
Lam made the comments in a letter to his 20,000 fellow members on Monday and warned that such action would leave the force with no choice but to take “necessary” action. But he did not say what that was.
He said in the letter that pistols are the “second life” of officers while they’re on duty, and they will use every method to protect their revolvers.
“If someone tries to steal an officer’s gun, that means they’re taking the life of the officer. Rioters, are you psychologically prepared to make the step to threaten the lives of police officers and others?” Lam asked.
“If you take that step, we will have no choice but to make the only and necessary decision. Please think twice,” he said.
Hong Kong law does not specify that someone who snatches a police gun has committed an offense, but a person who does that could be charged with robbery, and the maximum penalty for that is life imprisonment.
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