Pan-dems lash out at police over arrest of DC chief

March 27, 2020 12:55
Pan-democratic lawmakers condemn the "arbitrary" arrest of District Councilor Cheng Lai-king at a news conference on Thursday. Photo: HKEJ

The pan-democratic camp assailed the police for arresting a pro-democracy district councilor, calling the move a form of political revenge.

Cheng Lai-king, chairwoman of the Central and Western District Council, was arrested early on Thursday under a colonial-era sedition law for allegedly doxxing a police officer.

Cheng, 60, was accused of sharing a Facebook post containing personal information about a police officer, including his photo, name, rank, and home address.

The officer was reportedly the one who fired a projectile that hit and blinded the right eye of an Indonesian journalist as she was covering an anti-government protest in October last year.

Cheng was released on acash bail of HK$10,000 in the afternoon.

In a statement, the Democratic Party, of which Cheng is a member, lashed out at the police for arresting her without justified reason and abusing the sedition law, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Use of the colonial-era law to incriminate Cheng was aimed at creating a chilling effect, said the party, which stressed that the police move would not silence the opposition and pledged to continue monitoring the police force.

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who represents the legal functional constituency, said Cheng had no intention of inciting others to harass the officer in question or his family, adding that there were many examples in the past of people forwarding online posts that targeted police officers.

He wondered if it would be considered an offense or a violation of an injunction if a person used the picture of a law-breaking police officer as evidence.

"Unfortunately, the government of today decided that it would use these colonial laws to silence political discontent, clearly in political revenge for what the district councilors have been so bravely and courageously doing – their duty," RTHK quoted Kwok as saying.

Civic Party leader and lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said the police simply tried to use the “rusted” law to spread white terror among the public.

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Observer accused the police of abusing an outdated law to make an unlawful arrest, thereby contravening the international human rights law as well as protection of freedoms of expression and the person stipulated in the Basic Law.

The group said that since Cheng only intended to ask the officer in question to turn himself in, which is a form of peaceful expression, and did not advocate violence, her arrest was unreasonable and based on a wrong interpretation of the law.

It urged the police force to conduct self-restraint and exercise its power with caution.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan from the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said she had filed a police report, noting that she had been doxxed and verbally threatened by some netizens after she accused Cheng of breaking the law.

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