The Hong Kong police have said they will investigate the case of a Now TV driver who was hit by a police projectile outside their Mong Kok base on Sunday. A senior officer has apologised for the incident.
At around 1:30am, the Now TV driver – surnamed Lau – proceeded to the company vehicle when he was struck with a suspected bean bag round in the back of the head. Vehicles for local broadcasters were parked nearby.
Lau had a press vest with him but was not wearing it. His colleague told officers that he worked for the local broadcaster, but he was ordered by officers to leave.
Lau’s hands were tied behind his back and was detained for two hours. He later claimed to have been beaten by officers inside the station. His right jaw bone was broken and required an operation.
When asked about the incident, Police Public Relations Bureau Acting Chief Superintendent Kong Wing-cheung said at a press conference on Monday that the Complaints Against Police Office – an internal police department – had actively launched an investigation.
Security camera footage will be kept, and relevant duty records of officers present will be examined, Kong said.
Kong said police were firing bean bag rounds and rubber bullets at protesters who were throwing petrol bombs at the station at the time.
He said Lau fell outside the station at the location where officers were firing rounds, and officers approached him to check on him. Lau was not under arrest, Kong said.
“Owing to safety reasons, our colleagues thought he should be brought into the station as soon as possible to handle the incident,” Kong said.
Kong said Lau’s hands were tied up also for safety reasons.
He said media liaison team officers were sent to the station to assist, after Now TV contacted the police. He said he personally liaised with the broadcaster to resolve the matter.
Kong added that Lau was released after the force understood that he had a reason to be on the scene, and an ambulance was called to send him to a hospital: “We are sorry for the misunderstanding in communication during this incident,” he said.
The police were concerned about accusations of violent treatment of Lau inside the station, Kong said.
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