The police have done nothing wrong in the case of four environmentalists who were arrested for possessing “weapons” from a recycling centre, the police commissioner said. The case against the four was dropped after six months.
They were arrested after the Mong Kok unrest in February. Police confiscated items such as knives, metal rods, and wooden batons from an industrial building unit which served as a warehouse for recycling discarded materials. The environmentalists were told by the Department of Justice that there was little chance of conviction this week.
“Due to the situation at the time, we had reasonable doubts, so we made the arrests. After the arrests, we conducted investigations into other aspects, and sent [the case] to the Department of Justice,” commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung told reporters on Wednesday. “In this decision, it was not shown that anyone made any mistakes.”
Asked whether the police will apologise to the four, Lo said there is a complaint mechanism in place. The environmentalists could follow up using this mechanism if they were not happy with the way the police handled the case, he said.
The police were criticised by one of the environmentalists, who said that an officer made a misleading statement when he talked to the press about the arrests.
“I think everyone can think what the possible uses could be,” police superintendent Chow Kwong-chung told reporters on February 11.
Lo said Chow’s statement was made on the basis of primary investigations. “There could be different [findings] after another round of investigations – what he said at first was not our final conclusion,” Lo said.
Chow has been promoted to a senior superintendent since then.
Miss Chan, one of the environmentalists, suggested that the police should hold another press conference after the case was dropped.
“To inform all Hong Kong people, including us four, about the investigation process and the final reply from the Department of Justice, so that the public will know all the developments and give us the justice we deserve,” she told Apple Daily.
The police returned the confiscated items after the case was dropped.