HONG KONG - A retired senior police officer will file an appeal against the conviction and sentence over his handling of a bystander during the illegal “Occupy Central” protest in 2014, his defense counsel said after a Hong Kong court on Wednesday sentenced him to three months in jail.
Representatives from police organizations and local lawmakers expressed disappointment over the sentence and concern for the officer, saying they will offer assistance and support to Frankly Chu King-wai.
On Dec 18, Chu was found guilty of assaulting a pedestrian with a baton on Nov 26, 2014, when he was assigned to carry out an operation which prevented protesters from re-occupying streets in Mong Kok.
Chu was sentenced to a three month term on Wednesday but released on HK$50,000 bail pending appeal.
The Junior Police Officers’ Association of the Hong Kong Police Force said in a statement issued after the sentence that the association was “extremely disappointed” over the sentence.
The association noted such a sentence would leave a “great impact” on front-line police officers in terms of enforcing laws, and would also severely damage their morale.
Another police officer association, the Superintendents’ Association of the Hong Kong Police Force, also expressed disappointment toward Chu’s sentence in a statement, adding that Chu was a police officer who loved what he did, and that his peers admired him.
Both associations noted in their respective statements that they would extend their full support for Chu to follow up his case.
Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, also former secretary for security, said she felt regret about Chu’s sentence.
Before the court handed down its sentence, Ip published a post on her social network, calling on society to show support to Chu.
She said in her post that Chu should not feel abandoned as many people in Hong Kong appreciated his efforts during the illegal “Occupy” protests.
In total 40 mitigation letters were submitted to the court before the sentencing, including two from former commissioners of police – Tang King-shing and Andy Tsang Wai-hung.
The illegal protest – in which radical protesters occupied streets in Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok – brought Hong Kong to a halt for 79 days.
Another lawmaker Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan said she believed the sentence would cause front-line police officers to worry about being trapped in a legal grey area when working to maintain the social order.
She also noted that she would meet with the Police Force and Security Bureau for discussion on the standard applied to police enforcing laws with the use of force.