Police officers prosecuted for lesser charges over “torture” of an old man in hospital
Three serving and former police constables who assaulted a 62-year-old man in the North District Hospital last year were prosecuted for less serious charges.
Reports said that the first two defendants, namely AU Kwok-wai (aged 25) and TANG Man-him (aged 24), both being serving police officers, were initially charged with the offence of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, while LAM Yik-sing (aged 30), a former police officer, was originally accused of Conspiring to Commit the aforesaid offence. In the hearing of the said case resumed in the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts on 12 December 2019, the prosecution decided to lay the amended charges of Misconduct in Public Office and Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm against the three defendants, with the latter being an alternative charge for the former.
Under the amended charges, the three defendants, who had no case to answer, were accused that, on 26 June 2019, they wilfully misconducted themselves by act without reasonable excuse or justification in the course of their public office, namely, assaulting male CHUNG Chi-wah who was under custody in the North District Hospital, Sheung Shui. They were also prosecuted with an alternative charge that they assaulted the victim together on the same day and venue. The prosecution had yet to obtain the medical report of the victim despite its repeated requests made to the Hospital Authority and the Social Welfare Department for one.
The aforesaid defendants were dressed in a suit of the same style for the court hearing, and all of them put on a mask and a pair of sunglasses when leaving the court. Several people wearing similar clothes and acting as “doppelgangers” in attempt to distract the reporters were seen nearby.
The case was adjourned to 7 January 2019 as the prosecution prepared to have the relevant proceedings transferred to District Court, during which the three defendants were allowed to be released on bail.
Offenders of Misconduct in Public Office, a common law offence, are liable to a maximum penalty of seven years of imprisonment; pursuant to Section 39 of the Offences against the Person Ordinance, any person convicted of “Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm” shall be guilty of an offence triable upon indictment and liable to three years of imprisonment.