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Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 18:11

Police probes alleged beating of protester

By Kahon Chan /
 Police probes alleged beating of protester

Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu is taken away by policemen outside the central government offices in Hong Kong on early Oct 15, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez)

HONG KONG - A special task force of investigators was formed to probe the alleged assault of a protester by an entourage of six plain-clothed officers.

The alleged victim is Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, a Civic Party member and also member of the Election Committee from the social welfare subsector. He was arrested by police officers when the law enforcement recovered control of Lung Wo Road in Admiralty around 4am on Wednesday.

A four-minute-long footage uploaded by TVB later on the day showed that Tsang was dragged to a dark corner by six officers. He was apparently being kicked on and punched for about a minute. He was dragged away from the scene by the end of the footage.

The SAR government attaches importance to the complaint filed later by the Civic Party, said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, and he assured there is established procedures to handle the case in an impartial and just manner.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok also confirmed that all the involving officers were removed from their current posts, but he did not provide details on their new roles. He also promised that the incident will be investigated impartially.

Outside the Legislative Council chamber, he accepted a letter submitted by the Civic Party, which is calling for a full suspension of the officers' duties.

Police spokesperson, chief superintendent Steve Hui, added that the police has already formed a special task force to look into probable breach of police rules. He also pledged that the police will take any criminal offenses seriously.

Hui had told reporters that police officers are instructed to use minimum force for legal purpose. Once that goal is attained, the use of force must stop. But the footage suggested that the assault continued long after the protester was subdued and tied up.

Lai had told the Legislative Council in July that there are "very clear guidelines and training" to instruct officers "not to use force unless it is necessary and there are no other alternatives to accomplish their lawful duties".

The level of force to be used should be minimal and reasonably required under such circumstances, he told the lawmakers, and few complaints of assault by police officers had been established in the past.

A total of 323 complaints had been filed in the year of 2012-2013 involving police officers assaulting individuals in custody. But most cases were ruled to have lacked evidence.

Only seven police officers involved in five cases over a period of five years were given disciplinary action, all of which were related to issues of "individual officers' integrity", instead of system or procedures.

In the same period, two other police officers were prosecuted for suspected assault during their discharge of duties, though both were acquitted after trial.

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