20 July 2019
Osman Cheng (R) says he is disappointed that the government is yet to prosecute Franklin Chu (circle) more than 26 months after an Occupy-related assault incident. Photos: HKEJ, YouTube/
Osman Cheng (R) says he is disappointed that the government is yet to prosecute Franklin Chu (circle) more than 26 months after an Occupy-related assault incident. Photos: HKEJ, YouTube/[email protected]

Occupy victim mulls private prosecution as DOJ fails to act

A man who was allegedly beaten up by a policeman during the 2014 Occupy protests has threatened to launch private prosecution against the now-retired officer, saying he is fed up with the government’s procrastination on the case.

The legal team of Osman Cheng issued an open letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday, asking it to prosecute former Sha Tin division commander Franklin Chu King-wai within two months.

If the DOJ fails to begin proceedings, Chen will launch legal action himself against Chu, the lawyers warned.

In the letter addressed to Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, the legal representatives said their client, a young man who has had a clean record and was never involved in politics, had believed that the DOJ will bring the errant policeman to book.

Having provided all the relevant information to justice officials and the police, Cheng had been waiting for action from the authorities.

However, even after more than two years since the assault took place, the DOJ has not initiated criminal prosecution against Chu, Cheng’s lawyers complained in the letter, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Cheng and his legal team are both very disappointed at the government’s failure to act, the letter said.

Given the circumstances, Cheng will consider all legal measures, including private prosecution, to get justice, the lawyers wrote.

Bringing the former policeman to book is important as Hong Kong people should feel that they are still living in a safe city, the letter added.

The alleged assault took place on Nov. 26, 2014 in Mong Kok, where Chu, who retired in July 2015, was accused of striking several people, including Cheng, with a baton.

Cheng filed a complaint with the police department against Chu soon afterwards.

The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), by a 12-6 vote, filed a formal complaint against Chu one day before his retirement.

However, the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) did not accept the council’s conclusion until December 2015 when it determined that there was assault.

Although a criminal probe into Chu began in February 2016 and finished in June that year, DOJ has not taken any action, saying that it needs to examine evidence and check related laws before it decides whether to prosecute Chu.

In response to the letter from Cheng’s lawyers, DOJ said it provided legal opinions in December last year and in January 2017, and said it was informed by the CAPO that it was still studying the issue.

Suspecting that the DOJ might be attempting a cover-up, Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan, a barrister who has been helping Cheng, said the police department should prosecute Chu immediately since the CAPO had agreed with the authenticity of the case.

She noted that private prosecution will be a forced option since any criminal prosecution should basically be conducted by the government instead of by the victim.

Solicitor Jonathan Man Ho-ching, a member of Cheng’s legal team, told Apple Daily that a two-month period should be sufficient for the authorities to complete investigations and take legal action.

Any further procrastination will only give the public the impression that there are some hidden secrets in the case, he said.

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