21 February 2019
Hong Kong police have been accused of using excessive and unnecessary force when they tried to clear a pro-democracy protest site earlier this week. Photo: HKEJ
Hong Kong police have been accused of using excessive and unnecessary force when they tried to clear a pro-democracy protest site earlier this week. Photo: HKEJ

More accounts surface of police high-handedness

More people have come forward with accounts of what they described as excessive use of force by the Hong Kong police during an operation against pro-democracy demonstrators earlier in the week.

Some of the 45 protestors who were arrested during a clearing-up drive at Lung Wo Road in the Admiralty district late Tuesday and in the early hours of Wednesday said they were beaten up by the police, Apple Daily reported Friday.

A social worker surnamed Tong told the paper that he was dragged to a dark corner near the protest site and beaten up.

“Four to five police officers pulled away my helmet and beat me up for about four minutes, then one of them used the police truncheon on my legs,” he was quoted as saying, echoing the controversial treatment meted out by some police officers to Civic Party activist Ken Tsang.

Televised clips of the police beating of Tsang have sparked outrage in Hong Kong, and dented the image of the police force. The officers involved have now been suspended by authorities and an investigation is underway. 

Tong was released from the North Point police station at midnight Thursday. He was unable to walk normally and his knees were hurting, according to the report. He is said to have had marks all over his body.

Tong said he was at the Tamar Park Tuesday night and was trying to aid protestors who needed help. He said he didn’t have any so-called weapon, including an umbrella or plastic wrap, in hand.

“I fell on the ground and the policemen pulled my arms and dragged me on my knees on the floor. Then five people lifted me up and there were at least two to three policemen kicking me all the way,” Tong said.

He said the policemen displayed hostile attitude and that he didn’t get any reply when he asked for medical help between 3:30 am and 6:30 am. The policemen, meanwhile, were said to have shouted at him: “Cooperate or it will take a long time”.

Tong was also arrested previously during a sit-in on July 2. He accused the police as acting like triad members and using unnecessary violence.

“We are determined to fight for real universal suffrage, and will not get cold feet,” the activist said.

Another male protestor, identified as Leo, said he was beaten up as he was just trying to deliver some bread to the protestors. 

“The police were not aiming to clear the road blocks at that time, they just wanted to arrest people,” he said.

Leo lost one of his shoes in the melee and as he was looking for it, a police officer is said to have pinned him on to the ground. His right knee was hurt, and his goggles were taken away by the policeman. He was made to stay in a room with more than 10 people at the Police College.

Another protester who was in the same room said Leo had not been fighting the police. “We were just standing aside and watching what was happening,” he said. “People like Leo got caught when they wanted to retrieve some personal belongings,” Apple Daily quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, some media reporters also faced the brunt of police ire.

An Apple Daily photographer received three hits from a police truncheon — on his arms, abdomen and legs. The photographer, who bears the surname Ho, said that he was standing in the front wearing press identification, but the police was beating up everyone.

Some reporters who were standing between the protestors and policemen were also hurt by pepper spray when police sprayed it into the air, the report said.

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