A localist protester has been sentenced to 12 months on probation for assaulting a police officer, despite having filed a sexual harassment complaint against the officer.
Chan Tan-lai, 22, belongs to the localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, which advocates for protecting local values and preventing what it perceives to be the “mainlandisation” of the city.
Chan was sentenced on Friday for kicking a senior police officer at the Fanling Magistrates’ Court.
In explaining his decision, magistrate David Cheung Chi-wai said that exerting violence towards anyone was wrong, according to MingPao.
When Chan filed a sexual harassment complaint on February 5 regarding the male officer’s conduct, she was arrested for attacking a police officer.
In a statement released by Hong Kong Indigenous on June 30, after Chan was convicted, the group pointed out a number of perceived irregularities.
The group claimed that the primary witness, who was the officer assaulted, was also the only person who saw the assault with his own eyes. According to the statement, the primary witness changed his statement thrice after being questioned by the magistrate. The group also said that the statement of a secondary witness, another officer, contradicted the primary witness.
Hong Kong Indigenous claimed that, while the officer said he was kicked around the chest area, Chan was under 1.6m in height whilst the officer assaulted was over 1.7m in height. In a cramped environment it is not possible for Chan to assault the officer, the group said.
However, the magistrate dismissed the debate as “unimportant” and ruled in favour of the police. In the statement, the group said: “While perverted policemen enjoy impunity, the victim is falsely convicted. How can this be just?”
Posted by PassionTimes 熱血時報 on Sunday, February 1, 2015
The incident occurred last February 1, when Chan joined Hong Kong Indigenous to protest against a pro-police group called Alliance in Support of Our Police Force in Tai Po. The alliance, headed by Leticia Lee See-yin, was petitioning for the passage of laws banning individuals from insulting police officers. Over 60 police officers were on standby.
Hong Kong Indigenous, along with other localist groups, was spawned from the Occupy movement in 2014. Localist groups have spearheaded protests against mainland parallel traders in February and March 2015. Hong Kong Localism Power, another localist group, also led protests against Chinese styled “square dancing” which is prevalent in Mong Kok.
Localist groups are, in general, pro-democracy. However, many consider pro-democracy activists and pan-democrats within the legislature to be ineffective. The camp is also tied with various movements related to expanding Hong Kong’s autonomy, such as advocating for Hong Kong to become a city-state or for its independence.