The seven police officers who allegedly attacked Occupy protester and Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu could be charged by Thursday at the earliest, exactly a year after the incident took place.
Sing Tao Daily said that the seven officers were to report to the police station on Thursday and they might be prosecuted on the same day. Sources cited by Apple Daily and Ming Pao said that all seven police officers would likely be prosecuted, but the charges would likely differ depending on the degree of participation and the offence involved.
Although the seven officers have been suspended, they have been receiving full pay. If charged, they would still receive half of their usual salary until a verdict is reached. If they were later convicted, the officers might no longer receive their salary or subsidies.
The overseas barrister hired by the Department of Justice (DoJ), rumoured to be tough and ruthless, might pursue the less common charges, Ming Pao reported. The DoJ was said to have advised the prosecution on charges such as common assault, wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm – offences which carry a maximum sentence of one to three years, as well as grievous bodily harm, which could attract a life sentence.
A criminal law barrister told Ming Pao that it might be more appropriate to prosecute under the Crimes (Torture) Ordinance, under which a public officer who “intentionally inflicts severe pain or suffering on another in the performance or purported performance of his or her official duties” could be sentenced to life in prison. However, the consent of the Secretary for Justice is required before prosecution for this.
On Tuesday, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung told local media that the DoJ has advised on the issue, but refused to say whether the advice included prosecuting the officers or asking the police to investigate further.
He also said that he could not the prevent the public from looking at the issue from a political standpoint, but he emphasised that the DoJ would not take any political factors into account. He hopes commentary will not affect the hearing of these case, especially those with juries.
Ken Tsang said on a radio programme on Tuesday that he had been living well this year, but he questioned, “Can the government, DoJ and the officers hold their heads up high this year?”
On October 15 midnight last year, during the pro-democracy Occupy movement, TVB video footage appeared to show Ken Tsang being attacked in Tamar Park during the police clearance of protesters on Lung Wo Road in Admiralty. The incident has often been referred to as the “the seven officers in the dark corner.”