Under false accusation of breach of Injunction that later changed to assault and possession of offense weapon, man was indiscriminately arrested for shopping centre photo taking and beaten in police station.
A young man was taking photographs outside a restaurant in West Kowloon Centre, when suddenly two men in casual clothing revealed themselves as police officers and accused the man of breaching an Injunction by violating the officers’ privacy. The officers stopped the man and declared that he would be taken to a police station for investigation. Other members of the public at the scene queried the officers’ identify, saying that “No one could tell that you are a police officer”. Eventually, one of the officers displayed his warrant card.
In a statement, the Police Public Relations Branch said that at around 3 pm, a man flashed a torch at an officer in plainclothes outside a shopping centre restaurant on Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po. Two officers on duty then revealed their identities. The police seized a 18-cm long torch and parts from the man, Mr Ho, who was then taken to a police station to for investigation. Following inital investigations, Ho was arrested on suspicion of common assault and possession of an offensive weapon. The case was passed on to the 2nd Team, Regional Crime Unit Kowloon West. Ho, currently in custody under investigation, stated that he was unwell and was taken to Caritas Medical Centre for a medical examination.
Barrister Anson Wong Yu Yat explained that in accordance with the recent Court Injunction, any person who releases personal information, including photographs, of police officers or their relatives could be in breach of the Injunction. Photo taking itself should not constitute a breach, however depending on the situation, for example if a person chased after an officer in order to take a photograph, such act could be deemed as harassment and may constitute a breach. Nevertheless, the act of breaching an Injunction is classed as civil contempt, and is not a criminal offence. As such, the police has no power to arrest in this situation and can only apply to the civil court to find the person in contempt.
Chong Yiu Kwong, lawyer and Deputy Chairman of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, stated that it should not constitute the gathering of personal data if the photographer did not know the other party’s identity at the point the photograph was taken. Therefore the action would no relation to the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap 486). “How could he be charged with violating personal data privacy?” he questioned. Chong further stated that arrests made without reasonable cause is an indiscriminate arrest and the victim could privately prosecute the police for false imprisonment, or take legal action for civil claims
According to the facebook page of Community Establishment Power, Councillors Leos Lee Man-ho and Richard Li Kwing of Sham Shui Po District Council had accompanied the Ho’s father at the police station. In a phone call to Ho, he claimed that the police had punched him in the nose and attacked his gentials.
Section 20-14, Chapter 20 of Police General Orders:
2. A police officer shall carry his warrant card on his person at all times provided his intended activities are compatible with its safe keeping. An officer in plain-clothes when dealing with members of the public and exercising his police powers, whether he is on or off duty, shall identify himself and produce his warrant card. At the scene of a crime, officers in plain-clothes shall wear their warrant cards in such a manner that they may be readily identified.
Article 28 of Basic Law:
The freedom of the person of Hong Kong residents shall be inviolable.
No Hong Kong resident shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention or imprisonment. Arbitrary or unlawful search of the body of any resident or deprivation or restriction of the freedom of the person shall be prohibited. Torture of any resident or arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of the life of any resident shall be prohibited.
Section 3, Part I of Police (Discipline) Regulations (Cap 232A):
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;
Section 3, Part I of Crimes (Torture) Ordinance (Cap 427):(1)A public official or person acting in an official capacity, whatever the official’s or the person’s nationality or citizenship, commits the offence of torture if in Hong Kong or elsewhere the official or the person intentionally inflicts severe pain or suffering on another in the performance or purported performance of his or her official duties.