Detained protesters not being mistreated, police say

August 29, 2019 16:38
Police play video footage during a daily press briefing on Wednesday to refute allegations that some petrol bombs were thrown from police lines. Photo: HK China News Agency

Police dismissed allegations that some of the arrested anti-government protesters were being mistreated while in detention.

The denial came after a nurse at North District Hospital told Now TV that she saw unusual injuries on some of the protesters who had been taken to the San Uk Ling Holding Centre in Sheung Shui on Aug. 11, including one with a broken arm and others with bruises and bone fractures, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

It was also rumored that some of the arrested protesters were badly beaten at the center.

At a daily media briefing by the Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB), Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun-chung said records of the holding center’s duty officer showed none of the detainees had suffered serious fractures as alleged.

Tse said a total of 30 people detained at the center following the Aug. 11 clashes were later sent to hospital.

Of the 30 detainees, 10 had either asked for hospitalization or followed the duty officer’s decision to send them to hospital shortly after their arrival at the holding center.

The rest were hospitalized later for various reasons including suffering from headache or stomach ache, Tse added.

PPRB Senior Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung said the police force was not aware of any detainees who fit the descriptions made by the anonymous nurse, RTHK reported.

Kong urged her to provide more information, saying police also want to look into the alleged incidents to arrive at the truth.

He also said some detainees could have sustained injuries from being handcuffed, especially if they resisted arrest.

Kong explained that handcuffing is done for security reasons and to ensure the safety of both the arrested individuals and the police officers.

He said officers are finding it hard to restrain arrested protesters who put up a strong resistance, adding that officers have to use reasonable force when the protesters refuse to co-operate.

Separately, Dr. Lo Su-vui, chief executive of the Hospital Authority’s New Territories East Cluster, said of the 30 people sent to North District Hospital from the holding center between Aug. 12 and 13 for injuries, 20 people needed to be hospitalized, including two who sustained fractures and one who needed to undergo an operation.

Lo said all the 30 detainees have been discharged, and none of them mentioned to hospital staff anything about having been sexually assaulted.

As for the video footage apparently showing petrol bombs being thrown from the police cordon lines during clashes in Tsuen Wan on Sunday, Tse said the force “can confirm that the video was fabricated”.

“Petrol bombs never came from our side. They were thrown recklessly by rioters,” Tse said.

He said an international media outlet, which was understood to be CNN, had before the presser “quickly corrected their headline” and offered its apology to the force after alleging in a news headline that police used petrol bombs against protesters.

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