Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung expressed sadness over a court’s decision convicting seven police officers of beating up pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang during a protest in 2014.
“I can relate to the feelings of frustration and disappointment that colleagues have,” the Hong Kong Economic Journal quotes Lo as saying in a letter addressed to all members of the police force on Wednesday.
He offered assistance to the defendants.
The seven officers were found guilty of “assault occasioning actual bodily harm” by a district court judge on Tuesday. They will receive their sentences on Friday.
Lo said he hopes the entire police force would remain united and excellent, despite the fact that society has seen more chaos in recent years that has put the law enforcers under great stress.
While declining to comment on the court ruling, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok told media the police force is the most important pillar of law enforcement.
Lai said most officers had chosen to use peaceful means to resolve conflict during the Occupy Movement, from which they suffered big pressure.
Meanwhile, the pro-establishment camp is appealing for leniency from the judge in the sentencing of the seven officers.
Legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong said she respects the court’s decision but the officers might have been forced to do what they were accused of after being provoked and insulted by the protesters.
Ann Chiang Lai-wan from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) also echoed Leung’s view, saying the case was an isolated one and their crime was the result of having been provoked.
But Democratic Party’s James To Kun-sun, who is vice chairman of the Legislative Council’s security panel, said the seven officers should face the consequences of their actions, noting that “they should have known better but still decided to break the law”.
As to the view that the defendants had been provoked by the protesters, To said a police officer should be professional enough to withstand stress and provocation.
Joe Chan, chairman of the Junior Police Officers Association, pledged full support for the defendants, adding that the group may launch a fundraising campaign if they decide to appeal.
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