A pro-democracy lawmaker has voiced doubts about the authenticity of records kept by the Fire Services Department (FSD) in relation to a police action against anti-government protesters, saying he suspects a logbook may have been tampered with to play down the casualty numbers in terms of the people who were injured in the incident.
The Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said he has reason to believe that the logbook as it exists now on an enforcement action that took place at a train station last month might be showing a modified figure on the injury cases.
Referring to events that took place at Prince Edward MTR Station on the night of Aug. 31 when police officers were accused of indiscriminately beating up people during a dispersal operation, Yeung suggested that authorities were trying to hide the extent of the police violence.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the opposition lawmaker unveiled an internal incident logbook from the FSD, saying it contained information reported by firefighters at the scene to their department control room on that night, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
According to the lawmaker, there were 10 people reported injured originally, but the number was later modified on Sept. 3 and only seven were thus seen on the records.
Three people whose condition was classified as “red” or critical were suspected to have been eliminated from the records, he said.
Yeung also noted that there was a 26-minute black hole in the records, between 12:36 am and 1:02 am, on Sept. 1.
Furthermore, the log showed that the Hospital Authority (HA) had confirmed arrangements in relation to where the 10 injured were to be transported, but such record was modified on Sept. 10, Yeung said.
According to the lawmaker, the modified record showed that a senior police officer said three injured in a “red” condition, two in a “yellow” condition and two in a “green” condition needed to be sent to Lai Chi Kok MTR Station first.
During the presser, Yeung invited three anonymous, masked people, with sunglasses, who claimed to be FSD staffers, to tell what they saw happen that night through a video conference.
One of them said that if extra information is needed to be added to logs at a later time, due to inadequate time on the spot to input information, the work is usually done after a few minutes, or in some cases within a few hours, after the information is collected.
It is rare to modify information after several days, let alone more than a week later, he said, adding that any changes to the logs can only be checked by officer-grade staff with a password input.
In light of multiple unanswered questions he considered important, Yeung urged MTR to make all of the CCTV footage at Prince Edward station that night public.
In response to the doubts raised by Yeung, the FSD said on Tuesday night that records may end up being unclear when there is a great deal of information needed to be processed in an incident.
It is normal for the Fire Services Communications Centre to confirm information with managers at the scene and revisit records so as to give supplementary information or correct the records, after the operation finishes, it said.
The department claimed that it is not an unusual practice, especially in relation to large-scale incidents.
Meanwhile, it strongly criticized the leak of internal data, saying it cannot tolerate any acts that aim to sow doubts in the minds of the public about the department’s integrity.
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