Date
26 February 2020
Police Commissioner Chris Tang (back row, 4th left) responds to questions from members of the Tsuen Wan District Council on Wednesday about the handling of the months-long anti-government protests.  Photo: HKEJ
Police Commissioner Chris Tang (back row, 4th left) responds to questions from members of the Tsuen Wan District Council on Wednesday about the handling of the months-long anti-government protests. Photo: HKEJ

Police chief grilled again by DC members over officers’ tactics

Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung again faced heavy questioning from district councilors about the conduct of his officers and the tactics they deployed during law enforcement actions over the past seven months when Hong Kong was rocked by anti-government protests.

Attending a meeting of the Tsuen Wan District Council (TWDC) on Wednesday, the police chief was asked to respond to accusations of police brutality and excessive use of force against protesters, getting grilled on the topic for the second time in two weeks.

Last week, Tang faced fire during a meeting of the Central and Western District Council, but he remained defiant and argued that the police have nothing to apologize for.  

During his latest appearance before the TWDC, a number of pro-democracy councilors, who now control the local body, took turns to grill the police chief over the police’s handling of the ongoing protests.

After video footage was played that showed officers using force on arrested protesters, Tang responded by saying that it is not right to ignore other facts and argue on the basis of selectively chosen video clips.

Tang, meanwhile, asked the gathering to remember a Nov. 11 case where a man was set on fire in Ma On Shan and a Nov. 13 incident that saw a male cleaner killed by a brick thrown at him.

Those two cases are true facts, unlike the fake news about alleged deaths in Prince Edward MTR Station on Aug. 31, he said.

Tang dismissed accusations of police brutality and also said there was no truth in allegations of officers planting evidence to frame some protesters.

However, he admitted that there might be some things the police may have not done well enough. It is possible that officers did something wrong in some individual cases in the past few months, he said.

Still, Tang felt no need to offer any apology to the public, merely saying that there would be internal disciplinary reviews if deemed necessary.

Talking about the attacks that occurred in Yuen Long on July 21, when a group of white-clad thugs beat up anti-government protesters and others at the MTR station and nearby areas, Tang said the police should have done better in certain areas when dealing with the incident.

Acknowledging that doubts have arisen among citizens about the response of the police, Tang said the force will heed some lessons and plug shortcomings.

Meanwhile, he stressed that he has been, and always will be, against the triads.

As Tang made his way to the TWDC meeting Wednesday afternoon, more than 100 people gathered outside the meeting venue expressing support for the police chief.

When the meeting got underway, police supporters in the public gallery booed and shouted at pan-democratic councilors when they raised allegations against the police.

Some of those pro-establishment demonstrators had to be evicted by the council chairman, Sumly Chan Yuen-sum, after the hecklers failed to heed several warnings to stay quiet.

Pro-democracy councilors raised an impromptu motion to ask the government to disband the police. Tang then stood up and left the room, saying he would not want to be present for the council’s internal affairs.

The district officer for Tsuen Wan and a number of government officials walked out of the meeting as well.

In a press release issued on Wednesday night, the government said it “expresses regret over the unfounded allegations against the [police commissioner] and the Police as well as the insulting words by a number of District Council members at the meeting and in the impromptu motion. As a result of the situation, members of the Government walked out of the meeting.”

The government said it urges the District Council members to “focus on livelihood issues and discuss matters rationally”, and the administration hopes “it can work with the District Council under the principle of mutual respect and rational discussion.”

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TL/JC/RC