Police officers are accused of applying excessive force on a woman stall owner who was arrested over a carton box found outside her stall in Sha Tin.
The 53-year-old woman, surnamed Wan, was wailing as police officers pinned her to the ground and put her in handcuffs during her arrest in front of her snacks store near the Tai Wai MTR Station on Saturday, news website hk01.com reports. [Go to the video]
Wan was arrested after personnel from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) accused her of illegally occupying public space with a carton box outside her stall.
Passers-by who witnessed the incident could not help but question whether it was necessary for the officers to be so rough and violent on a woman who obviously did not pose any physical danger to the police and FEHD personnel.
The FEHD said during an enforcement action along Tai Wai Road that evening, its staff found a shop with goods blocking the street.
They then confronted the stall owner. After some heated verbal exhange, the FEHD staff called the police, who sent several officers to the scene.
After issuing a verbal warning and Wan still refused to cooperate, several police officers used “appropriate force” to arrest her, police said.
The owner was arrested for obstructing public officers in performing their duties, causing obstruction in public places and failing to produce identity documents.
No one was injured in the incident. The case has been passed on to the District Crime Squad in Sha Tin.
Wan’s son, who was not around when the incident took place, said he was shocked to learn how the FEHD and police officers treated his mother, noting that they were no different from mainland urban management officers in dealing with petty offenses.
He said police should not have used force in arresting an old woman, Apple Daily reported.
His mother insisted that she had no idea about the charge being levelled against her by the FEHD and police officers.
They might be referring to a carton box on the pavement which did not come from her store, she said.
Another stall owner on the same street, surnamed Ng, said the FEHD staff should have dealt with the matter more tactfully by talking patiently to Wan instead of having her arrested because she was quite busy at the time.
Trying to explain the presence of carton boxes on the footpath, Ng said a stall keeper sometimes find it hard to cope with deliveries while manning the store.
Besides, Ng said, the space outside the housing estate Grandway Garden is private property and therefore it is not illegal to put items there.
He also said the carton box in question was placed just a foot outside Wan’s store.
Under the Fixed Penalty Ordinance, which was enacted on Sept. 24, it is an offense for merchants to place goods outside their shops or install shelves to place goods outside their shops.
Offenders are liable to a fine of HK$1,500.
FEHD under fire for slapping HK$1,500 fine on cleaning lady (Oct. 25, 2016)
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