Earlier today, seven police officers were convicted of having kicked, punched and stepped on activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu after he had been handcuffed and arrested for assaulting police officers during an Occupy protest more than two years ago.
The seven officers convicted are Chief Inspector Wong Cho-shing, 50; Senior Inspector Lau Cheuk-ngai, 31; Detective Sergeant Pak Wing-bun, 43; police constable Lau Hing-pui, 39; and detective police constables Wong Wai-ho, 38; Chan Siu-tan, 33; and Kwan Ka-ho, 33.
All seven had faced one joint count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, of which they were found not guilty. They were convicted of the lesser charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Chan was also additionally convicted of a charge of common assault.
The District Court previously heard Tsang, 41, testify that he had poured liquid onto police officers during a clearance operation that had been going on in Admiralty. He was arrested and zip tied, and brought to a nearby substation by a group of officers.
The 224-page judgment found that Tsang had then been assaulted, leaving him with injuries to his face, neck, shoulder, side of the body, chest and back.
However, the court said that these injuries did not amount to grievous bodily harm.
Chan was convicted of common assault after the court accepted Tsang’s identification of the officer in a direct confrontation.
The activist claimed that Chan had slapped his face twice in the report room at Central Police Station.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm carries a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment, and common assault is punishable by one year’s jail time. None of the defendants offered evidence during the high-profile trial.
Judge David Dufton noted that Wong and senior inspector Lau had not taken part in the assault and had only watched as it happened. But he pointed out that: “every police officer has a duty to prevent the commission of a crime, even by fellow officers”.
Dufton said that such behaviour – like carrying Tsang to the substation and watching their colleagues beat him up – amounted to encouraging and supporting the assault.
Barrister Linda Wong, a spokeswoman from the Progressive Lawyers Group, told Young Post that the verdict reaffirmed the fact that police officers need to carry out their duties in accordance with the law.
“The police are not allowed to abuse their position or powers to conduct illegal action,” she says. “Dufton’s verdict was made based on factual evidence.”
Last May, Tsang was jailed for five weeks in a separate trial at Kowloon City Court over one count of assaulting police officers and two of resisting police.
He was immediately released on bail, pending an appeal against his conviction.
Edited by Ginny Wong