Retired police superintendent Franklin Chu could finally face criminal investigation for assaulting a passerby during the Occupy protests in October 2014 in Mong Kok, Apple Daily reported Monday.
Osman Cheng, who was allegedly hit by Chu with a baton, was quoted as saying that the police invited him to give a statement just before the Lunar New Year holiday.
The move suggests that a criminal investigation is underway into Chu, more than 450 days after he is said to have assaulted Cheng.
Cheng was told that the statement taken from him earlier was mainly used for a petition he made against Chu at the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO), whereas the new statement would be for a criminal investigation.
A Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson confirmed that the police sought legal advice on the Chu case, the report said.
The police, meanwhile, said that they are following up on DOJ’s reply and that they have no further comments to make at this stage.
The alleged assault took place on November 26, 2014 in Mong Kok, where Chu was accused of hitting several people, including Osman Cheng, with a baton.
One day ahead of Chu’s official retirement last July, the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) established a complaint against Chu with a voting result of 12 for and six against. The CAPO sought advice from DOJ after disagreeing with the decision of IPCC.
Eric Cheung Tat-ming, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law and a former IPCC member, said it is highly likely that a criminal investigation has begun, given that the police have sought statement from a witness.
Cheung said the police probably would pursue a common assault charge. A charge of assault causing bodily injury could be handed out if the injuries sustained were considered severe, he said.
As Chu was a superintendent, veteran police officers said his case would be handled by the Civil Service Bureau, and that it is more likely he would be given a written warning.
With Chu having already retired on July 23 last year, it is likely that he will be able to continue to receive his pensions, as the charges were not as serious as the likes of corruption, murder or rape.
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