Suspects in reporters' assault wore masks, caps in police lineup

May 04, 2015 15:20
Unidentified pull journalist Sin Chi's necktie (inset). At lest are a face mask and a shower cap similar to the ones used by suspects during a police lineup. Photos: Bloomberg, Facebook, internet

Suspects in the alleged attack on television journalists during last year's democracy protests wore masks and shower caps in a police lineup.

They had asked to be allowed to cover their distinctive features before they were presented to witnesses and their alleged victims, am730 reported Monday.

This emerged after the police said last week they did not have enough evidence to prosecute the alleged assailants.

The suspects, aged 50 to 61, were arrested but no one has been positively identified, the report said.

Three of the alleged victims -- all TVB reporters -- were invited to the identification parade.

Of the three groups of seven to eight people in the lineup, only one group of potential suspects had their faces completely visible.

The others wore masks and shower caps after a suspect asked that his distinctive features not be exposed.

The plaintiffs said the identification process was not appropriate given that the people who attacked them did not have masks or shower caps on.

A retired senior police inspector said it is common practice for people in a police lineup to cover a distinctive feature such as a mustache or put on one.

However, the general principle is not to conceal a large part of the suspect's face.

Barrister Albert Luk said covering up distinctive features is intended to protect the rights of suspects.

However, such rights should not be abused.

If a suspect, for example, was not wearing a mask during the alleged crime, no mask should be allowed during the identification process, he said.

Luk said identification is only a part of evidence-gathering. Even if no suspect is positively identified, the police could still prosecute the case on the available evidence.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen said the case of the three TVB reporters is not over.

Police should conduct further investigation before further action is taken, he said.

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