The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) said the complaint against a now-retired senior police officer accused of using excessive force on civilians during the 2014 Occupy protests was justified based on its investigation.
But the police watchdog said the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO), a unit within the police force, at first rejected its findings several times before finally accepting them, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
IPCC chairman Larry Kwok Lam-kwong said there was procrastination on the part of the police department in acting on the case, although there is no evidence that it had tried to harbor the officer in question.
In its 2015/2016 work report released on Wednesday, the IPCC revealed details of the case for the first time, saying it voted 12-6 in favor of filing a formal complaint against former Sha Tin division commander Franklin Chu.
Chu was accused of attacking passersby in Mong Kok with a baton during a police operation against Occupy protesters in November 2014.
But after the IPCC filed the complaint against Chu a day before he retired in July 2015, the CAPO did not accept the decision until December last year when it determined that there indeed was an assault.
A criminal probe into Chu began in February this year and was finished in June, or one year after the IPCC’s decision.
However, the Department of Justice has not yet prosecuted Chu, saying it needs more time to examine the evidence and check related laws.
Daniel Mui, IPCC deputy secretary-general for operations, said the evidence, including 12 related video clips, was solid enough for the CAPO to act on the case immediately after the council issued its findings.
Mui said the IPCC fulfilled its duty by completing its report on the case before Chu retired, adding that it based its findings only on evidence and never on political considerations.
While Kwok said there was procrastination of the case, he saw no evidence that the police department had tried to harbor Chu.
Mui said the IPCC will never tolerate any act of harboring on the part of the police force in the same way that it will not allow fake complaints.
The IPCC has done what it should with regard to the case, and the rest is left for the police to handle, he said.
He declined to comment on the progress of the case.
The Civil Human Rights Front urged the Department of Justice to prosecute Chu as soon as possible so that justice can be served.
In its work report, the IPCC said only five of the 274 complaints against acts of police officers during the Occupy Movement proved to be true, with nine officers subject to disciplinary actions.
For the fiscal year that ended in March, the IPCC received a total of 1,572 new complaints, down 27.2 percent from a year earlier, the report said.
Most of the unresolved complaints were about officers accused of neglecting their duty.
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