Reports of police officers beating protesters up were isolated incidents and should not be used as benchmarks for the overall performance of the force, the chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.
Larry Kwok Lam-kwong said that while police should exercise utmost caution in law enforcement and restrain themselves, protesters should not provoke the police in any violent way, Apple Daily reported Monday.
Without naming names, Kwok criticized a small number of protesters and social opinion leaders for creating disorder at certain events.
He said such actions have fueled a worsening culture of bullying in Hong Kong.
When asked to comment on recent media footage showing police officers using batons against “protesters” in drills, Kwok said a drill is a drill and that he is not worried about the professional judgment of the police, based on their track record.
Kwok, who is a lawyer, said the job of the police is to investigate, and it is the decision of the Department of Justice whether to prosecute and the job of the court to determine whether someone is guilty.
The system is a perfect demonstration of judicial independence in Hong Kong, he said.
“One cannot expect the police to act as a judge and that every arrest will lead to a conviction and a sentence,” Kwok said.
He said he doesn’t believe that there is a deep rift between the police and the public.
Many people still have faith in the police, Kwok said.
He called for protesters to make their voices heard in a peaceful and sensible way and never to resort to violence, which could be an abuse of the right of freedom of speech.
Icarus Wong Ho-yin of Hong Kong Civil Rights Observer said police have never disclosed the guidelines given to front-line officers on the use of violence.
Neither has the IPCC requested disclosure from the force despite repeated queries having been made regarding the overuse of violence against protesters, Wong said.
He said Kwok should carry out his duties as IPCC chairman and not act as a current affairs commentator.
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