South Asian man overpowered by police, died instantly after 7 minutes of knee compression
On Thursday, May 7, police used “appropriate force” to subdue an intoxicated, non-Chinese man in Nathan Road, who was later reported to be unwell and died after being taken to hospital. The West Kowloon Regional Serious Crime Unit took over the investigation.
Police said uniformed officers of the Yau Tsim Police District were passing through Nathan Road at about 5pm on Thursday when they received a call for help from a passer-by who said a non-Chinese man suspected having a strong odour of alcohol on him had damaged a moving private car with a glass bottle and pushed down a motorcycle parked nearby.
Officers stopped the man off 60 Nathan Road. During the process, the man had fiercely resisted and struggled. Police officers, assisted by passers-by, used “appropriate force” to subdue him and recovered about 4 grams of suspected heroin on his body. The man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, drug possession and assault on a police officer.
Mr Wong, a reader, told the Apple Daily that three police officers subdued the man on the ground and pressed his knees against the man’s neck, back and hands in a violent manner. One of the officers also waved his retractable baton and struck the man’s hands, during which some officers shouted “don’t move”, “calm down” and “stop” in Chinese and English several times, and the man stopped resisting at one point. During the process, a number of people gathered around to watch the situation. Two non-Chinese men also attempted to subdue the man, and a passer-by even told the police officers to use the handcuffs as soon as possible. Mr Wong said officers pressed the man on his knees for about five to seven minutes, but did not buckle the man’s hands until the ambulance arrived and the man was unconscious.
Paramedics: Police officers should know CPR before paramedics arrive or when no one is there to help
A public hospital paramedic told “The Stand News” that the casualty was not breathing or having a heartbeat before the ambulance crew arrived, and according to ambulance and HA (Hospital Authority) records, no one performed CPR on the casualty before the ambulance crew arrived.
Another paramedic told “The Stand News” that, according to ambulance records, police officer called for an ambulance at 17:45 saying that the casualty was in the police car, Collapse (unconscious). When the ambulance arrived at 18:04, the paramedic found that the casualty was in cardiac arrest and immediately administered CPR, but that was already 19 minutes later. The paramedic also said that no one had performed CPR on the casualty before the ambulance arrived at the scene. The casualty’s heartbeat returned after immediate resuscitation by paramedics, but was in extremely poor condition. The ambulance arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 18:20. He was resuscitated in the emergency room and then taken to the intensive care unit, where he was confirmed dead at approximately 5:45 p.m. on May 8.
Some medical staff had performed brain, chest and belly CT scans on the patient and none of them revealed fatal injuries.
Medical professionals say that police officers should generally know CPR and can administer aid to the casualty before the paramedic arrives, but eventually the casualty continued to have no breathing and no heartbeat. Mortality rate increases by 10% for every minute of delay in administering aid. Even if the casualty’s heartbeat was restored, it was described as a ” flashback” and difficult for medical professionals to save. The paramedic estimated that the incident or those involved did not administer first aid to the casualty on the spot and ultimately resulted in death due to the delay in administering aid. But the true cause of death will have to be confirmed by the forensic pathologist.
Rapid drug tested negative
The medical staff also revealed that a urine test was conducted after the injured man was taken to hospital and all the results were negative for drugs. However, he added that the test cannot exclude all drugs.
When asked if the test could detect heroin, the medical staff explained that the test would be negative if the dose was small or taken for too short a period of time, so the test would normally be used for reference only. More detailed samples should be sent to a laboratory for formal testing.
The case has been referred to the West Kowloon Regional Serious Crime Unit for follow-up and officers have contacted witnesses and are conducting a full site investigation. Police will later arrange an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Laws of Hong Kong Cap. 212 Offences against the Person Ordinance section 7:
Any person who is convicted of manslaughter shall be liable to imprisonment for life and to pay such fine as the court may award.
Police General Orders Chapter 29 Section 29-01:
7. In order to substantiate the findings, investigators must always bear in mind the following points:
(a) Only the minimum force necessary to achieve the purpose may be used and once that purpose has been achieved, the use of force shall cease; and
(b) The force used must be reasonable in the circumstances.