Hong Kong Law & Crime

Last of the 7 police officers convicted of assaulting protester lodges an appeal

The last of the seven police officers who were found guilty of assaulting pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang has appealed against his conviction and sentence.

The Department of Justice confirmed on Tuesday evening that it had received a notice of appeal from detective sergeant Pak Wing-bun, 42.

ken tsang seven occupy

Defendants entering the court. Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

The other six officers filed appeals earlier. They include: police chief inspector Wong Cho-shing, 48, senior inspector Lau Cheuk-ngai, 29, and constables Lau Hing-pui, 38, Chan Siu-tan, 31, Kwan Ka-ho, 32, and Wong Wai-ho, 36.

The court will decide whether to hear the appeals at a later date.

The seven officers were jointly charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Tsang with intent during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests, but they were acquitted on the basis that the injuries sustained by Tsang did not amount to grievous bodily harm.

Instead, they were convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Judge David Dufton of the District Court sentenced them to two years in prison.

Chan was convicted of an additional charge of common assault for slapping Tsang twice in his face inside the Central Police Station. He was handed one month of jail term to be served concurrently with his two-year jail sentence.

Pro-police camp

Police groups and supporters argue that the sentences are too heavy. During a rare closed-door rally held at a police clubhouse last month, police unions vowed to clear the convictions of the seven officers.

Police unions, Beijing loyalist Maria Tam Wai-chu, and the pro-business Liberal Party have separately set up foundations to assist the convicted officers and their families.

Meanwhile, some groups and pro-Beijing figures such as lawmaker Priscilla Leung are pushing for the criminalisation of behaviour insulting police officers.

police rally

Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

Handing down the sentence last month, Judge Dufton said: “The defendants damaged Hong Kong’s reputation in the international community… There was no justification to take Tsang to the substation for the assault.”

Judge Dufton said the court needed to “make an example” out of it to ensure that no police officers would attempt to commit the offence in the future.

He has since faced a raft of abuse from police supporters, both online and offline.

Last of the 7 police officers convicted of assaulting protester lodges an appeal