The police have promised not to prosecute three drivers they used as “human roadblocks” in a traffic accident in Fanling earlier this year.
In February, a seven-seater vehicle was chased by a police motorbike on the Fanling Highway for violating traffic regulations. Another officer appeared to instruct drivers carrying civilians to slow down on the highway, apparently in an effort to stop the suspect with a “human roadblock.”
The speeding vehicle then slammed into the vehicles in front of it, killing two people who were in the seven-seater, and injuring six.
The police have come under fire for their handling of the incident, although they claimed that “gesturing vehicles to ask them to slow down is definitely in accordance with regulations.”
But last Friday, the drivers of the cars received a notice of intended prosecution, which the police said was a “routine procedure.” Pro-democracy lawmaker James To brought up the matter at a Legislative Council Security Panel meeting, asking if they had considered how the victims felt.
The police arranged for a meeting with the three drivers and their representatives through To on Wednesday. To told reporters after the meeting that the police explained they had to issue the notice in accordance with internal guidelines, and it was a matter they had no discretion over.
However, they said they understood that it was unpleasant for the drivers and apologised accordingly.
According to To, the police have told the drivers to ignore the notice and are discussing with the Department of Justice whether they can withdraw it. To said he believes the process of compensation will be sped up after the meeting. To added that the police will review whether a notice has to be issued in every circumstance.
As for the police use of a human roadblock, To said: “[W]e are demanding… that there is an immediate, absolute cessation with regards to any [officer] using human roadblocks to stop vehicles. Then, after the review is completed, if there is any situation that requires a human roadblock, you explain to the public in detail… so that the public can feel reassured.”
Otherwise, To said, drivers may be wary of being used as a human roadblock whenever they are asked to stop by an officer.