A man has received HK$$189,000 in civil compensation from the Hong Kong police after he said he was wrongfully arrested by officers and suffered injuries in the process during the Occupy protests, insisting he was just a passerby rather than a protester.
The out-of-court settlement is the first of its kind in Hong Kong, and could open the door for similar complaints from citizens who also claim to have been wrongfully arrested and assaulted by police officers during the protests, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Leung Wai-man, 32, who works as a painter, refused to sign a confidentiality agreement presented by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and disclosed the settlement.
In a press conference on Sunday, Leung said was just passing through Nathan Road in Mong Kok on the night of Nov. 30, 2014 after the police had just cleared the streets occupied by protesters, only to be arrested as one of them.
He said he was pushed to the ground and dragged by several policemen, causing him to sustain a fractured wrist and bleeding in the eyes.
Leung filed a complaint with the Complaints Against Police Organization (CAPO), but after receiving no response, he sued the police commissioner in June last year for civil compensation.
While calling the compensation fair, he said it should not be kept confidential.
He said the settlement proved that what the police did to him was wrong and it should be disclosed to the public.
Kenneth Lam, Leung’s lawyer, said the case actually contained criminal elements but due to flaws in the system, his client only received civil compensation, which did not require the police to apologize or launch an internal investigation into the improper use of force.
He said it was fortunate that the police assault on Leung was recorded on video, which served as evidence of what had really happened.
Lam called on people with similar complaints to seek justice as soon as possible if they have sufficient evidence because there is only a three-year prescription period for such cases, Apple Daily reported.
A police spokesman declined to comment on the case, but admitted that the CAPO has received several complaints from people who claim to have been treated improperly during the Occupy protests and investigations will be launched after judicial procedures are completed.
In a reply to enquiries, the DOJ said it deemed an out-of-court settlement with Leung was the most appropriate action on Leung’s case, after information from the police and other factors were taken into consideration.
Leung said he is considering filing complaints against police officers involved in his case, adding that he has totally lost confidence in the police force after what had happened to him.
Two men sue police for HK$20 mln for alleged Occupy assault (Apr. 15, 2015)
Civil groups urge police reforms after damning Occupy report (Jun. 16, 2015)
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