March 31, 2020 marks the seventh month of the 8.31 incident and a large number of people were arrested by the police. One of the arrestees, Li Kai-ching, a member of the Hong Kong Demosistō, told The Apple Daily that while in custody at Hung Hom Police Station, he witnessed a senior police officer, together with a number of plainclothes officers, assault an arrested person who was believed to be mentally handicapped, after which the victim kept apologising to the officer in a horrific manner. In addition, police claimed that they did not use epidemic prevention laws to arrest people that night, but both Li and the other arrestee said that police did use epidemic prevention laws to make arrests.
Li Kai-ching, who is the assistant to Sham Shui Po District Council Chairman Yeung Yuk, was taken to Hung Hom Police Station on the night of March 31 after he was arrested by police. On April 1 at around 1 a.m., he together with several arrested persons handed over their belongings to police one by one in a lobby on the ground floor of the police station.
Li said that after completing the procedure himself, he realized that an arrested person at the back of the line was behaving in an unusual manner and was believed to be mentally disabled or have other mental problems. That man cautiously asked to keep a rubber band but the officer in charge refused, Li continued. After the two parties tangled for a minute or two, a more senior white shirted officer suddenly intervened and fiercely berated the man, “What the fuck? I’ll fuck your mother! I’ll fuck you! Coward!”
Other police officers, seeing their superior’s anger, surrounded the “rubber-band” man. And then the senior officer together with several plainclothes officers began to beat the “rubber-band” man to the ground, while other arrested persons were cautioned not to look again. “Don’t look or you will be next!”
Li went on to say that at first the officers did not realize that he was in a position to get a good look at what had happened and immediately ordered him to turn his back on the “rubber-band” man. Li described how no arrestee was brave enough to say anything to stop it, and the sight of it with his own eyes cast a shadow over him. “It was obvious from a glance that the person was mentally challenged and the police could not have been unaware of it. Another person arrested at the same scene told The Apple Daily that the man kept apologizing to the senior officer, who then comforted him, saying “don’t be scared” and eventually shook hands.
（Updates April 4, 2020）
In a new development of the police involvement in the assault of a mentally handicapped person, Apple Daily has successfully contacted the victim, the “rubber-band” man, to find out what happened. He, who is a moderately depressed man, said he was suffering from headaches, bruises and walking with a twist after being rounded up at the police station that night, and that the officer who attacked him had at one point “pretended to be a good guy”, comforted him and falsely accused him of assaulting the officer. The police have so far not denied the incident but at the same time refused to commit to proactively investigate or check the closed-circuit television.
After the investigation, Apple Daily contacted the victim. The man clarified that he was not mentally retarded, but he was suffering from moderate depression, and was very scared and nervous after his arrest, so he behaved abnormally. Some police officers also thought he was mentally retarded that night, but did not arrange for a social worker or family member to come to his aid.
The “rubber-band” man said that at midnight on April 1, the arrestee turned in his belongings in the rainy playground at the police station and asked officers to give him a rubber-band because he had multiple pieces of confession paper in his hand, but Riot Police Officer A refused.When he asked again, Riot Police Officer B, who didn’t have a police number on his shoulder, yelled “No, fuck!” He couldn’t help but sneer back, “You dare not show your number, looks like you are also coward!”Instead of getting angry, a passing white shirted police sergeant immediately shouted at him, “What the fuck? I’ll fuck your mother! I’ll fuck you! Coward!”
The man said the police sergeant and about four plainclothes officers immediately began to beat him up, which lasted about half a minute to a minute, and he kept apologizing because he was scared. “Fortunately” the police did not beat him to a bloody head. He later found out that he had head pain, bruises on his body and foot injuries, and that he would cripple a little when he walks.
Chubby “pretend-to-be-good-guy” sergeant says he won’t pursue the case
Subsequently, the police sergeant suddenly came to comfort him by “pretending to be a good guy”, telling him “not to be so frightened”, telling him that if it was in the 80s, the police would have shot at the person who threw the Molotov cocktail and told him not to cause any more trouble. He also falsely claimed that the “rubber-band” man had just beaten him and could be charged with assaulting a police officer, but he also decided not to pursue the matter. In the end, the police sergeant asked if the “rubber-band” man was still “unhappy”, and the “rubber-band” man said no in order not to anger him.The reporter asked for the name or number of the police sergeant and the “rubber-band” man said he did not know, but recalled that he was chubby and had a belly.
Due to his asthma and discomfort, the “rubber-band” man asked to see a doctor around 3 a.m. and was later taken to the hospital. A nurse once asked him if he had been beaten, and he only dared to say “yes” but not to give details because the two police escorts were right behind him.
In response to the Apple Daily’s earlier enquiry, the police said that the arrested person who sought medical treatment that night did not report any injuries at the police station. The “rubber-band” man said that of course he did not dare to say anything, “I’m afraid that they would take me back and beat me up again”. He also said that he would not file a complaint with the CAPO (Complaints Against Police Office) because he did not believe that the police would deal with it fairly.
Unlike the high-profile denial of abuse of violence in the past, the Police have so far not denied the assault on the “rubber-band” man. They have refused to commit to take the initiative to conduct an investigation, and they have also refused to commit to watch CCTV footage or question the relevant police officers on duty. They only urge the victims to contact the Police. The Commissioner of Police, Tang Ping-keung, has openly stated in the past that the police would take the initiative to investigate serious cases even if there were no complaints.
Cap. 232A Police (Discipline) Regulations
2) The offences against discipline are—
(c) conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline;(k) unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority resulting in loss or injury to any other person or to the Government;
Cap. 427 Crimes (Torture) Ordinance Part I
(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.
Police General Orders Ch 34
34-19 Handling Mentally Incapacitated Persons
According to section 2 of the Mental Health Ordinance Cap.136, a Mentally Incapacitated Person (MIP) refers to a person (a) suffering from mental disorder or (b) being mentally handicapped.
2. Irrespective of the person being a victim, witness or suspect, officers should immediately locate an appropriate adult (AA) to accompany and assist him/her in order to safeguard the interest of the MIP.
3. An AA who is present to provide support to the MIP should be served with a “Notice to Appropriate Adult” (Pol. 1150) as soon as practicable, which assists the AA in understanding his/her roles and responsibilities.
Police General Orders Ch 49 PERSONS INPOLICE CUSTODY
49-04 Custody Search
24. To ensure that the rights and welfare of persons with special needs are fully addressed, whilst the presence of an appropriate adult is mandatory for detained persons under the age of 16 and detained persons who are or suspected to be mentally incapacitated, the presence of an appropriate adult for other categories of detained persons with special needs is optional. Where the presence of an appropriate adult is mandatory or a detained person has requested the presence of an appropriate adult, a custody search shall be, where practicable, conducted in the presence of such an appropriate adult. However, should the Duty Officer be unable to contact an appropriate adult as required within a reasonable time or a custody search is considered urgent, for example, where there is risk of harm to the detained person or to others, a custody search shall be conducted without the presence of an appropriate adult. This fact and the steps taken to contact an appropriate adult shall be fully recorded in CIS.
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Apple Daily（follow-up ）