Police said a female plainclothes officer caught on camera sitting on a female student protester’s head was using minimum amount of force needed to make an arrest.
Divisional Commander Alan Chung Nga-Lun of the Hung Hom Division said one should not make a conclusion based only on a photograph, referring to the incident that happened during a police operation in To Kwa Wan on Wednesday morning, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Speaking at the police media briefing, Chung stressed that police always use a minimum level of force when dealing with people committing unlawful acts.
At around 7:15 p.m., Chung said, police saw seven to eight uniformed students with masks and gloves using traffic cones to block the intersection of Ma Tau Wai Road and Tam Kung Road as well as spraying paint on a passing bus, prompting them to enforce the law and make arrests.
Although the students resisted arrest, the plainclothes officers still managed to subdue three 15-year-old male students and one 14-year-old female student, all of whom were arrested on suspicion of disorder in public places, possession of offensive weapons and criminal damage.
Chung said police had received reports of protesters blocking roads and damaging buses on Tuesday morning on the same site, prompting them to plan an operation on Wednesday morning.
While making the arrests, a female plainclothes officer wearing a mask was caught on camera sitting on the student’s head. The picture was posted on social media, sparking criticism from netizens.
But Chung insisted that one cannot draw a conclusion on whether the officer used excessive force simply based on a snapshot, adding that the picture was apparently taken at the moment when the officer had just subdued the student.
He said after the student was quickly handcuffed, the officer didn’t sit on her anymore.
In the same operation, a 47-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of assaulting and obstructing a police officer after he tried to push the female officer away and hit her on her face in an apparent attempt to help the student to flee, Chung said.
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