The Department of Justice has not decided whether to launch a prosecution against former Superintendent of Police Frankly Chu King-wai, according to the Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung. It is alleged that the former police officer assaulted protesters and passers-by during the pro-democracy Occupy protests last year.
The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) had earlier deemed the allegations surrounding Chu as having a foundation and the police force’s internal Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) had agreed to amend the status of the case so that it is now listed as “substantiated”.
According to Yuen, the IPCC and the CAPO held different opinions with regards to the case, and the police force has sought advice on the legal questions that arose during the process of handling the complaint. Yuen said he noted that after consulting with the Department of Justice, the police had changed the status of the investigation report.
However, he said that the advice provided by the Department of Justice was not on the topic of whether to prosecute, and a decision has not yet been reached on the issue.
Yuen also said he has learned from news reports that the police are deciding whether to hand information over to the Department of Justice. He said that the case will be treated like any other, and that when relevant information and documents have been received from the police, they will be handed over to the Prosecutions Division. A decision on whether or not to follow up on the case will then be made after an assessment, in accordance with the evidence and the prosecution code, is carried out. However, Yuen said they had not received anything from the police yet, and therefore he could not report on the progress of the case.
Now-retired police commander Frankly Chu King-wai was filmed hitting pedestrians in Mong Kok on November 26 last year. In July, the IPCC voted in favour of declaring the complaint in the case as substantiated, but this was rejected by the CAPO. When the IPCC reconfirmed its findings days later, the case was sent back to CAPO and the police unit sought legal advice from the Department of Justice.
IPCC secretary-general Ricky Chu Man-kin said earlier this month that if the two bodies cannot reach an agreement, the case may be referred to the chief executive, who has the power to make a final decision on whether Frankly Chu will be prosecuted.
Last week, the United Nations Committee Against Torture published a set of recommendations for the Hong Kong government, urging it to duly prosecute officers who were complicit in, or allowed, any excessive use of force during last year’s pro-democracy Occupy protests. It also noted that investigations into police complaints were being conducted by the CAPO, which was an internal unit of the police, and that the IPCC remains an advisory and oversight body of CAPO’s investigations, with no power to conduct investigations on its own.