Date
22 October 2019
Men in white T-shirts with poles are seen in Yuen Long after the violent incident on Sunday night. Hong Kong authorities are facing growing calls to establish an independent inquiry into the recent events. Photo: Reuters
Men in white T-shirts with poles are seen in Yuen Long after the violent incident on Sunday night. Hong Kong authorities are facing growing calls to establish an independent inquiry into the recent events. Photo: Reuters

Clamor grows for independent inquiry after Yuen Long attacks

Following the shocking violence in Yuen Long last Sunday, pressure is mounting on the government for an independent inquiry into the recent events in the city.

Among the latest to join the calls is the Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA), which said on Wednesday that it is extremely concerned about the social disturbances and that a proper investigation is needed. 

In a press release, the HKBA said it condemns the violent and indiscriminate attacks that took place on unarmed civilians, rail passengers and members of the press in Yuen Long.

“Hong Kong residents enjoy the fundamental rights to security of the person and freedom of movement. It is the first duty of any responsible government, above all else and without exception, to protect the lives, safety and well-being of its citizens,” the association said.

To afford fairness to everyone concerned, including the police and given the gravity of the events on Sunday, the HKBA urged the government once again to set up an independent commission of inquiry to “carefully examine, among other matters, the administration of the Police Force in the past few weeks and to make recommendations to prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents.”

Meanwhile, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and multiple former senior government officials and local politicians and former lawmakers also signed a joint letter on Tuesday, in which they said only by allowing an independent inquiry panel can the government hope to heal the wounds and start “the process of reconciliation in the community.”

They also proposed terms of reference of the commission in the joint letter.

Among other groups, the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild and the Hong Kong Screenwriters’ Guild demanded in a joint statement that the government set up an independent panel immediately to establish the truth behind the controversial incidents since June.

The government must also use “withdrawn” as the official word for the status of the extradition bill to avoid any disputes on wording, they said.

The Hong Kong Film Arts Association urged the government to seek accountability for the Yung Long attacks and also respond to the five demands made by the public in the aftermath of the extradition bill crisis.

During an interview with RTHK, Chris Patten, the last British colonial governor of Hong Kong, said an independent commission of inquiry would be a crucial step towards reconciliation in the city.

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TL/JC/RC