Youth activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung is seeking HK$45,000 in compensation from the police for alleged unlawful detention and abuse of power, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
In a hearing at the Small Claims Tribunal on Thursday, Wong, 21, said the incident took place on July 1 last year, when he joined other activists in a protest march to the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, where the government was set to hold a flag-raising ceremony and President Xi Jinping would deliver a speech.
Wong, who is the secretary-general of the political party Demosistō, said when they were about to reach their destination, six uniformed police officers suddenly approached him and tried to “drag and pull” him into a police car, using force.
Wong said there was a struggle and some physical contact between him and the officers, but he soon calmed down after he was handcuffed.
He accused the police of cuffing him without any prior warning that he was being placed under arrest.
A representative from the Department of Justice told the tribunal that Wong not only refused to get into the car but also struck one of them with his fist, even though the officers told him to cool down.
One of the officers testified that he had to cuff Wong because he just kept struggling and swinging his arms, thereby hitting the officer in the chest at one point.
A superintendent who was involved in the incident said police officers are entitled to use “minimum force” when necessary, although he admitted it was the first time he saw a demonstrator being handcuffed without being arrested.
The justice department asked the tribunal to rule against Wong since he failed to prove that the police had violated his personal freedom or damaged his reputation.
But Wong insisted that police officers could only use handcuffs after making an official arrest, adding handcuffs are not effective in protecting their personal safety.
The tribunal said it will hand down its decision on July 4, and reminded Wong that he might have to pay the justice department about HK$8,000 in legal fees should he lose the case.
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