A retired senior police officer has been finally charged with assault causing bodily harm, more than two years after he was accused of using excessive force on some civilians during the Occupy movement in 2014, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Former Sha Tin division commander Franklin Chu, who retired on July 23, 2015, was “arrested by appointment” by the police on Monday and a hearing of the case is set to be held this Friday in a West Kowloon magistrates’ court.
Chu’s arrest came one day after former chief secretary Carrie Lam won the chief executive election on Sunday and coincided with similar moves on several leaders of the 2014 Occupy movement, including Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan, although Lam claimed she had no knowledge of the latter beforehand.
Chan, who demanded the government explain why Chu’s case had dragged on, said she believes Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is behind Monday’s multiple arrests by the police.
Chu, 57, has been accused of attacking some passersby in Mong Kok with a baton on Nov. 26, 2014.
One of the victims, Osman 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 in 2015.
However, the Complaints Against Police Office 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, the Department of Justice had not taken any action until now, saying it needed to examine evidence and check related laws before it could decide whether to prosecute Chu.
Under the Offences Against the Person Ordinance, Chu may face a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment if convicted.
Seven police officers were sentenced to two years in prison last month for assaulting pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang during the 2014 Occupy protests.
After learning that Chu was officially prosecuted, Cheng told the media that he had felt numb about the case because it had gone on for too long.
He said he doubts whether justice can wind up being served.
While claiming he was not notified by the police about Chu’s arrest, he promised to show up in court as a witness if summoned, according to Apple Daily.
Eric Cheung, a principal lecturer in the University of Hong Kong and a former IPCC member, told Ming Pao Daily he sees no reason why the government had to wait for so long to prosecute Chu since the case is not that complicated.
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