Police slammed for using seized books to build case vs student

February 22, 2016 14:17
Banksy's image has been adapted by a Hong Kong graffiti artist to express his feelings about the police crackdown in the wake of the Mong Kok protests. Photo: Kit Da Sketch - Kit Man/Facebook

The police have come under fire for using seized political literature to build a case of rioting against a student in relation to the Feb. 8 clashes in Mong Kok, Apple Daily reported.

Ho Ying-kit, 22, showed up at the Kowloon City magistrates' court last Friday after he was booked for alleged involvement in the clashes between protesters and police earlier this month.

Ho was freed on HK$5,000 (US$643) bail and ordered to stay away from the areas in Mong Kok where the clashes took place.

After arresting him last Thursday, police seized three books from Ho's residence and offered the political literature as evidence of the student's radical leanings.

The action has been slammed by civil society groups and some lawmakers.

Describing the police move as violation of a defendant's privacy and dignity, Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun, who is a lawyer by profession, said it is surprising how the police can use the books as evidence.

He demanded that Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung offer an explanation as well as an apology.

Law Yuk-kai, director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, also said that it is totally unreasonable that the police are trying to link the political books with the Mong Kok incidents.

The action is unfair to Ho as well as the authors of those books, he said.

The books seized from Ho's home comprise one dealing with theories of Hong Kong state -- a title overseen by Lingnan University Professor Horace Chin Wan-Kan -- and another on Hong Kong politics by lawmaker Wong Yuk-man.

The third book found by the police was "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference", which was published in 2000.

That book, written by Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell, defines a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” and states that the success of any social movement depends heavily on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.

Once ranked as bestseller by the New York Times and recommended by former Financial Secretary Antony Leung, the book features a matchstick on its cover.

A local artist, Kit Man, has re-created an image based on British artist Banksy’s work, showing a masked protester holding the book "The tipping point".

The picture, which has been uploaded on social media, has an accompanying caption that says "authoritarians fear knowledge, so people who read books are rioters”.

The re-creation has found its way as graffiti on a wall along Dundas Street in Mong Kok on Sunday.

Banksy’s original drawing, "Rage, Flower Thrower" appeared in Jerusalem in 2003 showing a masked protester throwing a bunch of flowers.

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Banksy's image and the book "The Tipping Point"
Photo: canvasartrocks.com, Internet