8th of November – Police Shot Tear Gas at Residential Home, Resident Filed Formal Complaints and Received Intimidation in Return

In mid-November 2019, the Hong Kong Police Force (“HKPF”) conducted a dispersal action to a protest at nearby Sha Tin Town Centre. During the action, the police fired tear gas at a residential building, which one of them ended up exploding inside a fifth-floor home after the canister blasted through its window. It has been over two months since the incident, the resident Mrs. Cheng stated she has filed an official complaint with the Complaints and Internal Investigations Branch (“C&IIB”), together with a legal letter to the HKPF. “They don’t seem willing to help”, Mrs. Cheng claimed. Ever since the incident, Mrs. Cheng sent two letters to the HKPF asking for retrieving the canister shell, and yet there have been no responses from the police on this matter whatsoever. Mrs. Cheng then called C&IIB, the only reply she received was an intimation statement, telling her it would be illegal for her to possess any sort of offensive weapon. “I kindly asked them to retrieve the shell, but they said I broke the law” Mrs. Cheng expressed in a sense of helplessness.

On 22nd of January this year, Mrs. Cheng finally received a letter from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) saying the police would retrieve the shell at her home the next day. Mrs. Cheng said she fears to continue living her damaged home at the Lucky Plaza, “I doubt if the apartment was contaminated”. Written requests were sent to the HKPF by her, asking for air quality test to be conducted by police appointed expert, which were then refused by the HKPF. Mrs. Cheng needed to search for alternative residence home, while paying the rent for the last two months on her smoked apartment that she no longer calls home. Mrs. Cheng now seeks for remedy on damages made to her from the police, but she has yet to receive any reply so far. Mrs. Cheng’s attorney, Mr. Chan Wai Yuen, stated his client will not forfeit her right to claim for remedy, “it is not just the financial loss she has suffered, but also the stress and damage the incident caused”.

 

Laws of Hong KongChapter 232A Police (Discipline) RegulationsPart I Clause 3:

(2) The offences against discipline are—

(j) making a statement which is false in a material particular in the course of his duty or in connexion with the discharge by the police force of any of its duties or functions;

(k) unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority resulting in loss or injury to any other person or to the Government;

 

Laws of Hong KongChapter 200 Criminal OrdinanceSection 60:

Destroying or damaging property

(1) A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property, whether belonging to himself or another—
(a) intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damaged; and
(b) intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered, shall be guilty of an offence.

Police General OrdersChapter 29 Clause 29-01:
Personnel shooting in the downtown area may endanger the safety of innocent passers-by. Therefore, such shootings require careful assessment. Current firearms training requires personnel to exercise restraint to avoid injury to passers-by. If a passer-by may be injured, firearms should not be used. Personnel should aim at the target person with clear sight before shooting, and shall also take into account the danger of bullet rebound or shooting the wrong target.

 

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