A senior officer who was captured on video beating pedestrians during last year’s democracy protests did not commit a crime, police said, because the footage showed he wasn’t targeting a specific person.
Franklin Chu King-wai, then commander of the Sha Tin division, was only performing his duty, the force said in a report sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Apple Daily reported Thursday.
Chu, who retired July 23, was accused of attacking passersby in Mong Kok with a baton.
Osman Cheng Chung-hang, one of the alleged victims, who says he was not a protester but merely walking past, filed a complaint against Chu on Nov. 29.
Lau Yip-shing, director of operations for the force, said Saturday that the DOJ will study the case before it decides how to deal with it.
Police sent their report to the DOJ after the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) voted 17-3 on July 22 to uphold its July 10 decision that the complaint of assault and battery against Chu is justified.
IPCC said at the time that the force’s Complaints Against Police Office could consider how to proceed, including taking the case to the DOJ or leaving it up to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to decide whether Chu should be prosecuted.
While the police report denied any offence was involved, it said that in the light of the IPCC’s decision that the complaint was justified, the complainant has the right to ask for compensation in a civil action.
(Under the common law, an injured person can sue the attacker for damages without having to prove criminal intent.)
Solicitor Jonathan Man Ho-ching said he was surprised at the claim by police that Chu’s case didn’t involve a crime.
Whether his use of force was proper is open to question, Man said.
He said that under the law, whether there is a specific target is irrelevant to the criminality of such behavior.
Cheng questioned the argument made by police and said he might press charges against Chu if the case drags on.
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