Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-nor once again rejected the idea of setting up an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, one of the five core demands of anti-government protesters.
Before a weekly council meeting this morning, Lam said the work of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) is still ongoing and that she had full confidence that they would conduct a fair investigation. This is despite a panel of five overseas experts recruited by the government resigning from the council.
“We don’t believe we need to walk down this road,” Lam said. “There are established mechanisms in place to handle police complaints. The police have also been under immense pressure these past seven months.” Police have also faced “false accusations from all quarters”, she said, referring to an incident involving a legislator.
On Monday, Chief Superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen, from the Hong Kong police’s public relations branch, sent an angry letter to opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching, blaming her for making “wild accusations” against the force based on “fake news” during an interview with an overseas media outlet.
In the letter, Kwok said: “Without any factual basis, you outrageously and irresponsibly claimed that the Hong Kong Police Force had sent two undercover officers to vandalise shops in Wan Chai, with the intention [of using] the incident to halt the [New Year’s Day] public protests.”
Mo had told British media outlet Sky News about local media reports of witnesses claiming they saw undercover officers vandalising shops during the march on January 1.
In a Facebook video, Mo responded: “More than two Hong Kong news outlets reported that some black-clad people had vandalised shops. Some witnesses said they ran towards officers and shouted they were [police]. It was widely reported.”
The organiser of the New Year’s Day march, the Civil Human Rights Front, claimed more than 1.03 million people turned up that day. But police estimated around 47,000 people left the starting point of the march at Victoria Park, while another 13,000 were made to wait inside the park as the force halted the march early after reports of violence along the route.