Officers leave District Council Meeting without prior notice, guarded and escorted by plainclothes officers as ‘staff members’

During the Eastern District Council meeting on 3rd March, senior superintendent Wai Chi-tat and Police Community Relations Officer Wu Man-yee  left abruptly, when an agenda about the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) was raised. After saying that it “was not suitable for him to answer” as an excuse, Wai left swiftly. Several pan-democrats attending the meeting rushed to stop him, but plainclothes officers, who were disguised as staff members and had staff ID on suddenly appeared, escorting Wai’s exit and refusing to show their police ID. The two parties violently clashed during the incident.

The remaining district councilors rushed towards the elevator and demanded that Wai return the the meeting room immediately such that the meeting could resume, and that the plainclothes officers present their warrant cards without letting go of the plainclothes officers. Wu rebutted in defense, saying that it was dangerous to gather in such a packed space during the coronavirus outbreak, and that “the plainclothes officers had not shown their warrant cards simply because the situation was chaotic”. To which a councilor yelled, “The situation wouldn’t have been chaotic had you simply presented your warrant card to us earlier!”

District Chairman Joseph Lai Chi-keong called for both sides to calm down. He demanded that the officers present their warrant cards to the councilors, just as the councilors had shown theirs to them. It was until then did the officers reveal their warrant cards; however did not comply with the councilors and left the meeting as planned.

“Police General Orders” Chapter 20 No.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.

Related Issue: 3Mar Eastern District Council Meeting

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