Community & Education Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Abuse of police power has worsened since the Occupy protests, say human rights group

The abuse of police power has been worsening since the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests, according to a new report entitled “Police Power 2016” compiled by the Civil Human Rights Front, which was unveiled at a press conference held on Wednesday.

“The Umbrella Movement [Occupy protests] revealed the abuse of police power in front of people’s eyes. The police… used tear gas bombs, and since the Umbrella Movement they have also frequently used tear gas agents, pepper spray, and batons against peaceful protesters,” said Jimmy Sham, convenor of the group.

police power press con civil human rights front

Civil Human Rights Front press conference. Photo: Civil Human Rights Front via Facebook.

“We think that the problem of police abuse… has not been properly confronted and solved, and has led to a worsening of police power abuse since the Umbrella Movement,” said Sham, who cited the Mong Kok unrests as an example.

A police officer fired two shots into the sky during the unrest in February this year, an action which was later deemed to be acceptable under police General Orders.

The group also said that starting from the Occupy protests, the police have arrested many people and given false statements at court. However, these cases were not investigated and pursued, revealing double standards, it said.

Police at the Mong Kok protest. File Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

Police at the Mong Kok protest. File Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

Civil Human Rights Front cited incidents where police officers were implicated in offences, but investigations or arrests were delayed. This includes the case of Superintendent Frankly Chu King-wai, who allegedly hit a man with a baton, and a case in which a police officer apparently stole bail money.

The group also said that the addition of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying supporters onto the Independent Police Complaints Council may affect the neutrality of the police watchdog body.

Abuse of police power has worsened since the Occupy protests, say human rights group