Three more police officers who were found guilty of assaulting pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang have lodged appeals against their convictions and sentences.
The Department of Justice confirmed on Monday that it had received notices of appeal from senior inspector Lau Cheuk-ngai, 29, constable Chan Siu-tan, 31, and constable Kwan Ka-ho, 32. This leaves only one officer – detective sergeant Pak Wing-bun, 42 – who has not yet appealed.
Three other officers filed an appeal last Monday. They are: police chief inspector Wong Cho-shing, 48, constable Lau Hing-pui, 38, and constable Wong Wai-ho, 36.
At the District Court earlier this month, the seven were sentenced to two years in jail for kicking and beating Tsang at Tamar Park, Admiralty during the 2014 Occupy protests.
The court will decide whether to hear the appeals at a later date.
Chan was convicted of an additional charge of common assault for slapping Tsang twice on his face. He was handed a one month of jail term to be served concurrently with his two-year jail sentence.
Apple Daily cited sources as saying that Wong and Lau argued the prosecution failed to prove that they were the suspects filmed assaulting Tsang. They said their supervisors also failed to identify them from news footage, thereby challenging the judge’s reliance on the evidence.
Police groups and pro-establishment figures are raising funds for the seven officers and their families.
Pro-Beijing Sing Tao newspaper reported that the foundation set up by Beijing loyalist Maria Tam Wai-chu has raised more than HK$11 million from 55 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body.
Among the donors, Sino Land Company Chair Robert Ng Chee-siong gave HK$7 million. Former police chief Tang King-shing and anti-graft commissioner Timothy Tong donated HK$20,000 and HK$10,000 respectively.
Police groups and supporters argue that the sentence was too heavy. Legal scholar Johannes Chan has urged them to read the judgment before making the claim.
Judge David Dufton, who heard the case, has since been a target of racial slurs and insults from police supporters.
The Department of Justice and the legal sector have expressed concern at the attacks and urged the public to refrain from making comments which may exert pressure on individual judges, thereby intervening in judicial independence.