Riot Police Ordered Pedestrians Who Don’t Know Each Other to Stand Side by Side, Searched Them and then Fined them for Violating Public Gathering Ban
It was reported that Police Officers were citing Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap 599) to conduct large scale stop and search outside of Yuen Long Bistro in Prince Edward. More than 10 citizens were ordered to stand by the the wall, where at least two persons in the group were first-aiders. The number of people searched by the police far exceeded the Government limit, where public gatherings of more than 4 persons are banned.
Poming CHAN, candidate of Ap Lei Chau District in the 2019 District Council Elections, posted on Facebook that he witnessed the incident, where the police might have abused the disease prevention regulations. At first, the police ordered 5 pedestrians who did not know each other to stand side by side, issued penalty tickets to them then claimed that they were at a public gathering that exceeded 4 persons and therefore violated the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap 599).
The police responded on Facebook that Cap. 599 was not used for arrests on 31 March night. However, more than one arrestee told reporters that, they were informed in the police station that their accusations included violating the disease prevention regulations.
I was just standing there. The police came out of nowhere, told me that they were going to search me and asked all people around me to leave.
I was afraid that something bad was going to happen and so I taped the whole process. Suddenly, the police said they were going to search all of us. What the heck was going on? Couldn’t they at least agree on who to search in the first place?
While recording us, they asked five of us to stand next to each other, then told us we violated the public gathering ban and that they were going to fine us with penalty tickets. They also said that if we were caught gathering again, we will all be detained in the police station for 48 hours. Are you kidding me? Police officer I must confess to you that I don’t know the other 4 person standing next to me at all. This is crazier than police perjury.
How could they arrest us for happening to be standing next to strangers? I was obviously set up. What’s crazier than that? There is no need for Article 23 (a National Security Law that caused great controversies)!
Para. 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;
Perverting the course of public justice is an indictable offence at common law. The offence consists of an act, a series of acts, or conduct which has the tendency and is intended to pervert the course of justice (Halsbury’s Laws of England 4th Ed. Reissue, Vol. 11(1), para. 315).
– Making false accusations
– Fabricating or disposing of evidence
Related Event: 31 March – 7 months after the 31 August Incident