Four police officers, no warrant card, no registration, no search warrant demanded to search the house, fled after a failed attempt
Again, unknown persons claiming to be police officers come to the door in the middle of the night to harass the public! Mr Leung, a citizen, accompanied by a District Council member, went to the police station on March 31 to report that a number of unknown persons had come to his residence, knocked on the door and demanded to search the house, but eventually left on their own. The police later referred to him as a “wanted man”, but Mr Leung believed that his daughter had been arrested during the anti-extradiction to China protest last year and suspected that it was related to the incident.
Sham Shui Po District Councilors Tam Kwok-kiu and Ho Kai-ming of ADPL (Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood) accompanied Mr Leung, a resident of Nam Shan Estate, to the Sham Shui Po Police Station to report the incident. Mr Leung said that at around 10pm on the 26th of this month, while watching TV at home, someone suddenly tapped on the door and after opening the door, three men and one woman, a total of four young people in plain clothes claiming to be police officers, read out their full names and addresses, demanding to enter the house for a search in relation to a court order breached a few years ago. Leung said the group did not produce their warrant cards or search warrant. Since he was unable to identify them, he refused them entry into the house.
The unknown persons, who remained outside the door after being turned away, were described by Mr Leung as “fierce and vicious” in their attitude, shouting at him repeatedly and making threatening remarks, including warning him not to “point his finger”, as this might constitute assault on a police officer. Leung said he received a call with no caller ID at 1 a.m. after the suspected police officers left. After connecting, the caller said a single word of foul language and hung up immediately. At midnight next day, he was also harassed by an unknown caller.
Mr Leung made enquiries with the lobby security and it was confirmed that at about the same time, four persons claiming to be police officers asked to enter the building. They refused to register with the security guards and refused again when they left. Mr Leung revealed that after the divorce a few years ago, he had gone to court over the custody issue, during which he had taken his son across the border in violation of a court order. He stressed that the incident had long since subsided and he did not understand why the group of suspicious people had brought up the old issue again and requested a house search on this basis.
Mr Leung’s daughter was arrested by the police last year when she took part in the anti-extradition to China protest, but was not prosecuted afterwards. He believed that the harassment incident was “absolutely related” to his daughter’s arrest. He queried that if the suspect was indeed a police officer, he should have followed up on his violation of the custody order after being expelled, but the matter was not pursued afterwards. Today, Leung went to the police station in person to report the case to the police. He requested an explanation and hoped that through his personal experience, he could remind others to be more vigilant and not to allow suspicious persons to enter their homes.
Suspecting that the incident is related to the anti-extradition protest, Tam Kwok-Kiu said that so far it has not been possible to verify the identity of the suspects and demanded the police to give an account of the incident, including whether police officers had come to the door to investigate Mr Leung’s years-old case and why they had suddenly come to the door in the middle of the night. Ho Kai-Ming criticized the police officers for “not following any procedures and forcing people to do whatever they want them to do”, not even providing the reason for the search and his identity. He pointed out that Mr. Leung had been harassed and “didn’t know what was going on”.
In response to enquiries, the police described Mr Leung as a “wanted man” and he is being detained for investigation. Police said the four individuals who identified themselves as “police officers” on the night were officers of Mongkok Police District Criminal Investigation Team 5 who went to the residence of a wanted man in connection with a criminal case, alleging that the 51-year-old man was suspected of making “false statements under oath outside judicial proceedings”.
The police said that officers had taken the initiative to show Mr Leung their warrant card but Leung refused to co-operate. However, they did not respond to why the police had not followed up the case. They said that Leung had reported to the Sham Shui Po Police Station on Tuesday and was arrested because he was wanted.
POLICE GENERAL ORDERS Chapter 20 20-14:
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.
POLICE GENERAL ORDERS Chapter 44 44-04:
A police officer shall not enter any premises for the purpose of a search unless he is legally empowered to do so, or has the consent of the owner or occupier of the premises.
2. A police officer, having entered any premises to conduct a search with the consent of the owner/occupier, shall forthwith leave the premises once the consent to enter has been withdrawn by the owner/occupier. Where such consent is given, the officer will record this fact in his official notebook and read the entry to the person or invite him to read it himself, and thereafter invite the person who gave the consent to sign his name next to the entry. If entry into the premises has been granted by the owner or occupier for the purpose of making general enquiries, and at the time of entry the officer does not intend to conduct a search and gather evidence, there is no need for the owner/occupier to sign the officer’s notebook entry.
3. If an officer has entered premises to make enquiries with the owner/occupier and subsequently decides to conduct a search of the premises, the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 above apply, and a search should only be conducted if the officer is legally empowered to do so or has the consent of the owner/occupier of the premises.
4. When executing a search warrant or conducting a search of premises under an authorisation, the senior police officer present shall:-
(a) declare his name, rank, unit or station and, if in plain clothes, produce his warrant card;
(b) ensure that all other officers in plain clothes accompanying him produce and display their warrant cards;
(c) state the purpose of the search and explain the authority under which he is acting;
(d) if in his possession, produce the warrant;
(e) if he is executing a warrant not actually in his possession, inform the person in charge of the premises that if he so wishes, the warrant will be available for inspection after the search has been completed, and inform him of where the warrant will be available for such inspection; and
(f) if acting under a general authorisation, produce the authorisation.