Hong Kong police face criticism for waiting two months to arrest officers shown on camera hitting a 62-year-old man

Hong Kong police face criticism for waiting two months to arrest officers shown on camera hitting a 62-year-old man

Although the assault happened in June, the force only started investigating once lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting helped bring the case to light


The 62-year-old Chung's younger son (C), at the police headquarters in Wan Chai to file a formal complaint with his father. Three Hong Kong policemen assaulted Chung, who was being held for drunken behaviour.
Photo: SCMP/Nora Tam

Doubts have been raised over an explanation given by Hong Kong police as to why they took so long to investigate a case of police violence. 

Two officers were caught on camera beating a handcuffed suspect in a hospital on June 25. 

A complaint was made on June 27, but no arrests were made until Tuesday, when the footage was made public by Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting. Three police officers were arrested shortly after.

The 8-minute footage in a hospital ward of North District Hospital, provided by his sons via Lam, showed two officers first pressed Chung in the head and the eye, then escalated by punching him in his private part, abdomen and face, twisting his wrists.
Photo: SCMP

When police were asked why they waited almost two months to look into the incident, they said they were unaware that there were security cameras in hospital wards, and so did not think of checking the hospital’s surveillance footage after receiving the original complaint. 

But there are signs on the doors of wards in the hospital warning people that they are under round-the-clock video surveillance. 

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The man shown being hit in the video is 62-year-old Chung. He had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting police the day before. The incident was unrelated to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. The man was drunk at the time of his arrest, and was being kept in a “disturbed patient room” at North District Hospital, in Sheung Shui.

A medical source confirmed that security cameras are installed inside such rooms in public hospitals and the lenses are usually not hidden. 

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“The security cameras inside disturbed patient rooms are easy to spot,” the source said, adding security footage is shown on monitors at nursing stations.

The hospital has not yet explained why staff did not intervene or enter the room during the incident, which lasted more than 20 minutes.


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