A student who says he was assaulted by Hong Kong police during a clearing operation in a subway station is taking court action against the police chief and demanding compensation.
The father of the injured boy, who is surnamed Lee and under 18, filed the lawsuit with the District Court for personal injuries, loss and damages arising from an alleged assault and negligence during a police operation at Prince Edward MTR station on August 31.
In addition to seeking general damages, the plaintiff also wants Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung to pay punitive damages as deemed appropriate by the court, according to the writ.
However, the writ did not specify the injuries allegedly suffered by the plaintiff or disclose the amount sought in the claim.
The maximum amount of claim is HK$3 million (US$382,695 ) in cases handled by the District Court.
The lawsuit came after a controversial police clearing operation in which riot police and elite police ‘raptors’ went after protesters inside Prince Edward MTR station.
The police were later accused of attacking regular commuters although the police said they only targeted radical protesters who had changed clothes to blend in with passengers. The process was captured on video and broadcast live by media outlets.
Then, the police cordoned off two floors at the station and not allowed any media at the scene for reporting, leading rumors later emerged that three people died from police brutality in the operation even the authorities had repeatedly denied.
Lee, who wore a white T-shirt and no facemask, was one of three people who were injured seriously when riot police stormed into the train and hit them with batons, Ming Pao Daily reported.
He said he took the MTR train back home from Causeway Bay and witnessed disputes between a middle-aged man and protesters inside a carriage.
He followed a subway broadcast that asked all passengers to leave the train. He went into a train heading toward Central. Suddenly, he was hit by a baton twice on the head, causing him to lose balance and slam against the door before the police hit him a third time.
He turned around and found it was the raptor officers who hit him. He said he was too scared, felt helpless and said sorry to them. The officers left without making any arrest.
Lee said he knelt down inside the carriage – his head was bleeding and his T-shirt covered in blood. A first-aid volunteer helped treat his wounds as the train headed to Yau Ma Tei.
Lee and two other people who suffered serious injuries were sent to Kwong Wah Hospital for medical treatment.
However, what should have been a five-minute journey from Yau Ma Tei MTR station to the hospital drew out to 20 minutes, as some police got in the ambulances to check their ID cards and conduct a body search.
Lee also accused the police of not allowing him to call a lawyer before he was arrested for alleged unlawful assembly.
Lee needed 14 stitches for three wounds on his head. He also had blood clots on his shoulder, leg and knee, so he had to stay in hospital for nine days. He said he got dizzy very easily and it was hard for him to focus on study after the attack.
Lee told Apple Daily that he filed the lawsuit not because of the compensation, but he wanted to find the truth about what had happened in the station on August 31.
He said rumors were flying around about an incident, and he believed only a court could find the truth.