Ken Tsang stepped out of the North Point police station to address the media Wednesday night, less than 24 hours after he was allegedly beaten by Hong Kong police officers. The allegations reverberated through the community yesterday after video footage surfaced depicting Tsang, an Occupy Central demonstrator, purportedly restrained, kicked, and punched by officers for roughly four minutes.
“You should’ve seen the TV footage of a number of police officers brutally assaulting me while I was detained and defenseless,” Tsang said. “Prior to that I was assaulted and later I was assaulted yet again in the police station. I have sought legal advice to take legal action at the police concerned.”
Tsang, a member of the Civic Party and a social worker, displayed the injuries he suffered, many of which were shared Wednesday morning on social media.
Photos shared on social media courtesy of Occupy Central.
The footage was originally aired by Hong Kong’s TVB, and allegedly shows Tsang being led away on foot by several officers. The group is then shown to walk to the edge of a building, away from the crowds being cleared by hundreds of additional police, at around 3:33 a.m. Tsang, huddled on the ground, is then beaten, kicked and punched, by the officers for a reported four minutes.
Additional footage from TVB shows Tsang being carried by the officers and beaten for four minutes.
Steve Hui, Chief Superintendent for the Police Public Relations Branch, described a chaotic scene that began shortly before the alleged attack at 2:45 a.m. resulting in 45 arrests. Five officers were injured including one suffering a dislocated shoulder after being pushed to the ground and another was injured in the corner of his eye with an umbrella.
“This can hardly be a peaceful means of protest,” Hui said. Occupy Central demonstrators created an “extremely irresponsible and dangerous” situation the previous evening Hui said after using materials including concrete drainage covers to block Lung Wo Road. Police officers used pepper spray in response to the attacks.
Steve Hui, Chief Superintendent for the Police Public Relations Branch, addresses the media yesterday.
Footage aired by Now TV shows a masked man, also allegedly Tsang, throwing water on a group of police officers moments before being carried away.
Click above for the Now TV report.
In conflicting accounts, Secretary for Security, Lai Tung-kwok, said Wednesday morning that the officers involved have been “temporarily removed from their current duties” as the internal investigation proceeds. However, later Wednesday afternoon, Hui said, the officers have not yet been interviewed. “The officers concerned will be removed from their current duties,” he said. The Police Public Relations Branch later stated that “seven officers who handled the arrest of the complainant have beenremoved from their present frontline operational work.”
In a show of support, fellow social workers organized a march to Hong Kong Police Headquarters to voice their concerns about the assault Tsang allegedly suffered. Hundreds of demonstrators filled the intersection in front of 1 Arsenal Street, chanting to be let inside to file police reports.
”The image the police built over the past 20 years has been destroyed in the last two weeks,” said Kan Chi-wai, an executive member of the Social Workers’ General Union and one of the organizers of the march.
Police guard the end of Arsenal street as demonstrators gather in front of Police Headquarters.
Dozens of demonstrators lined up to file police reports regarding the alleged assault. At the back of the line sat Anthy Ngai with several fellow students, workbooks out on the pavement as they completed their homework. The young student said she had never before filed a police report in Hong Kong.
“This is not the first time police use excessive force but this is the first time it was recorded,” Ngai said. “This time we have evidence so we can report.”
Arriving with the demonstrators was Joshua Wong, leader of Scholarism and who recently appeared on the cover of TIME magazine as one of the world’s 25 most influential teens. Wong said he was not a leader this night but rather a supporter of the social workers.
“Policemen are not the civil servants to serve the public anymore,” Wong said.
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