Talking Points: is two years a fair sentence for Hong Kong police officers convicted of assault?

Talking Points: is two years a fair sentence for Hong Kong police officers convicted of assault?

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong


The seven policemen were jailed after being pronounced guilty of assault.
Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

Cheng Tsz-wai, 17, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Two years is not a fair sentence for police officers convicted of assault. Hong Kong police are supposed to protect citizens and keep the community safe. But these seven police did the opposite. They are not protecting the Hong Kong citizens, they are hurting them instead. It could take their victim more than two years to recover, so I think two years in prison is too short.

Michael Kwok Pui-hin, 16, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

It’s not about whether it’s fair to the officers in question, it’s about how it will affect other police officers in the same department. They might feel like just doing their job puts them at risk of going to jail. This could also affect citizens’ safety, if police are afraid to enforce the law because it could lead to them being accused of assault. I think one year is strong enough punishment to act as a deterrent for other officers.

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Chan Sum-to, 15, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School​

I think the penalty is too heavy. During the demonstrations, the police officers arrested the protesters because they wanted to protect Hongkongers. At the time, many of the protesters were out of control and it was all very messy. The mind and the moods of the seven officers were affected. The policemen used the wrong method to stop the protesters, but I think they should be given another chance to serve society. One year of imprisonment would be enough to warn them, and the remaining sentence should be replaced with community service.

Michael Poon, 17, Munsang College

Two years in jail is totally a fair sentence for the police officers convicted of assault. One of Hong Kong’s core values is “equality before the law”. Anyone who breaks the law must be punished, and this includes police officers. Video evidence clearly shows that the police officers abused their power and hit this protester. That is totally unacceptable, because the police force is meant to be serving its citizens and keeping society in order. They should not be using violence against protesters.

Kalvin Lee Siu-hin, 17, Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School

A two year sentence is completely unreasonable. Although under no circumstances should the police beat people, they were under huge pressure and were being treated unfairly. Also, the activist who poured an unknown liquid on the police had a less severe penalty. The officers should face some consequences, but a two year sentence is too harsh.

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Tiffany Lim, 13, Tak Nga Secondary School

I am totally against the police officers going to jail for assault. The punishment is too harsh and unfair for officers of the law. Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, who splashed an unknown liquid that smelled like urine in the face of a police officer, was only given a four-week prison sentence – and he is appealing it. But the seven police officers were sentenced to two years in prison. They might have gone too far, but it was Tsang who assaulted the police first.

In addition, Occupy Central protesters who smashed the glass doors of the Legislative Council building were given a slap on the wrist. They damaged public property, yet they were only sentenced to 150 hours of community service each.

This system is totally unacceptable because it is the unruly citizens who cause chaos, not the police. What the police did was definitely out of self-defence. Also, the police officers will most probably lose their jobs and pensions. Just think of their families! I believe the system is too harsh on the police, while unruly individuals get off lightly.

Gordon Man, 14, Law Ting Pong Secondary School

Although I think that these seven police officers are bad for hitting Ken Tsang, it is not fair to jail them for 2 years. Everyone has a family and needs to earn income to live. If they are jailed for 2 years, then their families will have no income for 2 years. So, I think it would be fair if they are jailed for 1 year.

Isa Ip, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Pro-democratic activist Ken Tsang was beaten by seven Hong Kong police officers during the 2014 Occupy protests. The officers brought Tsang to a back alley and beat him. I think two years is not enough for the police officers convicted of assault.

To start with,the officers were wrong to beat a pro-democratic activist. They are role models to the Hong Kong citizens and they should have enough self-discipline to control their actions. I think two years is not long enough for them to bear their consequences.

In addition, two years may not have such a deterrent effect on some police officers. They might not be scared of going to prison for just two years so their sentences should therefore be increased.

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Grace Chow, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

In my opinion, it is fair that the police officers were convicted of assault for a two year sentence. There is evidence proving they intended to hurt others. Everyone, let alone the police, should know not to beat others. They are law enforcement officers but they have abused their power and this makes Hongkongers feel ashamed.

Pauline Cheng, 15, Our Lady of Rosary College

I think the sentence given is suitable. There were five police officers hitting one man while two watched. We were taught, since kindergarten, to never hit anyone. Don’t they know that violence doesn’t solve the problem?

The police officers should be models for the Hong Kong citizens. They damaged the image of the Hong Kong Police. The Hong Kong citizens may not trust them anymore.

Even though someone may say two years is too much for an assault case, police officers should know not to break the law. Therefore, it is suitable for them to be sent to jail for two years.

Virginia Chu Lok-lam, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Even though they were in the wrong, it is not fair to the police officers. They have taken responsibility for what they did. They have lost their Mandatory Provident Fund and their families don’t have a breadwinner anymore. Some people think that their sentences should be more than two years. However, why was Ken Tsang sentenced to only five weeks even though he insulted and provoked the police officers first? The police officers are humans and that they have tolerance limits, too. There should be a law to protect the police force’s dignity.

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Zita Au Hoi-lam, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

I think two years is a fair sentence. The police’s mission is to protect citizens, not to hurt them. If any police officer violates this rule, he/she should receive suitable sanctions like that of a normal citizen. I think two years is appropriate enough - not too short, not too long - so it is a fair sentence for them to reflect on.

Chrissie Li Si-qi , Our Lady of the Rosary College

I think the judge was fair and justice has been served. The main responsibilities for police officers are to enforce the law, maintain public safety, and protect life and property. In this case, the policemen broke their public image. Sometimes, people can’t control their emotions when hearing insults. Therefore, I think the judgement is fair.

Miki Li Ka-ki, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

I think that two years is a fair sentence for the police officers convicted of assault. Everyone agrees that they must have good discipline and have wide knowledge of the law. They must know what they can and cannot do. They have a duty to intervene and prevent the committing of a crime. However, these role models failed to do this. Instead, they hit a citizen. It may make foreigners think that all police in Hong Kong can’t control themselves and that the government doesn’t have the ability to stop crime. It also shows that Hong Kong is suffering from political unrest. Therefore, the police officers should be responsible for their actions. This imprisonment of two years can have a deterrent effect and prevent this situation from happening again.

Occupy officers found guilty of assault on activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu

Acumen Law Ying-lo,16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

In my opinion, two years is a fair sentence for the police officers convicted of assault. The responsibilities as police officers are to protect citizens and uphold social justice. However, they have hurt their citizens with violence. If a person has done something wrong, they can take him or her back to the police station, no violence required. Therefore, the imprisonment of two years can have a deterrent effect and prevent the problems like this in the future.

Phoebe Ho Tung-yu, 17, Our Lady of the Rosary College

It is reasonable to give a two year sentence to the police officers convicted of assault because they are policemen. They are professionals and role models for the public. They abused their power to hit others, and this leads to a bad image for the Hong Kong Police. It is also a negative example for children.

However, the police in Hong Kong are under too much pressure. They are always scolded by locals but cannot retaliate. It affects their mental health. Hong Kong should think of a new solution to avoid the same things happening again.

Candice Leung Tsz-ching, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

In my opinion, police officers have their own responsibilities when protecting our society, fighting against criminals and protecting Hong Kong citizens from danger. Even though being a police officer may mean facing stressful cases, it doesn’t mean they can hit other people. As a result, the actions of hitting and injuring others is a huge mistake and the officers needed to be punished.

A two year sentence is not enough for the police officer in question, as their job is to do everything correctly and be a good role model to the citizens. Therefore, I think that stronger punishments are needed for the police officers who do things without thinking of the consequences.

Anka Wong, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

I believe that the two years sentence for the police officers convicted of assault is fair. The judge had to take two things into consideration: the occupation of the accused, and the victim’s degree of injury. They should have known that what they did was against law. But, they still did it. Luckily, the victim’s degree of injury was not high. It didn’t reach the level of serious injury. Nonetheless, the criminal record will destroy the police officers’ lives. They might not even be able to find a job.

Kelly Wong Hoi-lam, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

In my opinion, the conviction was fair because police officers need to protect their citizens. Instead, they hurt them. Even though the officers said that the citizen hurt them first, they still need to be punished. If citizens really hurt you, you should report it to the police, not hurt them back.

Miki Fung Mei-ki,19, Our Lady of the Rosary College

I think two years in prison is a fair sentence for the seven police officers convicted of assault. There is evidence that the police officers held a handcuffed man down and beat him. They knew the law and yet stupidly broke it. It is worthy of sympathy because police officers are being overworked, but we have to respect the judge’s judgement.

Kally Cheng, 16, Our Lady Of The Rosary College

Two years is a fair sentence and an appropriate adjudication for the police officers convicted of assault. Police officers have responsibilities to maintain social security. Violence against citizens hurts the relationship between the police and the public even more. Therefore, the best way to reduce this vicious circle is to enforce the law!

Amanda Wong Wing-ming, 17, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Two years is a fair sentence for the police officers convicted of assault. They should be good role models for the citizens, just like prefects need to be good role models for their schoolmates. That is why I think these police officers should bear more serious consequences in order to let the citizens know that police officers also need to respect the law.

Heidi Law Mei Lok, 15, Our Lady of The Rosary College

I think two years is a fair sentence for police officers convicted of assault. It is because the wrongdoer is the one that protect us and the one that to maintain the order of Hong Kong. However they broken the rules and do something that is totally different form what a police should do. Have a jail is just a way to tell the other police officers and the Hong Kong citizens that everyone is equal in front of the law and prevent that the same thing will happen again.

Kathy Cheuk Ka-yee, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

A two year sentence may seem harsh, but it is a warning against police violence. The jailed police officers have not only brought dishonour to the Hong Kong Police Force, they have also damaged Hong Kong’s reputation in the international community. As a result, the assault has been widely viewed and reported around the world, impairing Hong Kong’s attractiveness as the Pearl of the Orient.

Joey Lam Sze Ching, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

I think two years is a fair sentence for the police officers convicted of assault because the officers should face the consequences of their actions. There were also some similar cases in the past, and the officers faced different charges, ranging from 10 months to two and a half years. It can also deter other officers and prevent this kind of mistake later on. It is a minor victory for civil society against police violence, and confidence in Hong Kong’s rule of law can be restored.

Tracy Ho, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

The image of police officials has been destroyed by the case in which the seven police officers assaulted Tsang Kin-chiu. Although the activist did do wrong, police officers should not be using violence.

Moreover, the court’s judgement makes people believe that the rule of law still exists. If you did wrong, you need to bear the consequences whether you are a government official or not. It is fair and just that everybody is under the law. As a result, Hong Kong justice can be maintained fairly under the protection of our rights.

Kris Lam Ka-wai, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Two years is not a fair sentence for the police officers convicted of assault. Actually, I thought it was a little bit too serious to those police officers. I don’t think the police officers’ motivation was wrong. Ken Tsang did something wrong and was rude to the police. It shows how arrogant Ken Tsang was. Therefore, I cannot agree with the judgement. Certainly, the police were doing the wrong thing and they were abusing their authority. They also hurt Ken Tsang.

However, I suggest that depriving the police officers of their identity is enough. It would be the biggest insult in their lives.

Prudence Mak, 13, Tak Nga Secondary School

Two years is a fair sentence . The police officers arrested Ken Tsang as he poured liquid onto some officers. He was doing wrongly so the police officers were right to arrest him, but the police officers should not have taken the law into their own hands. Ken Tsang is at fault but they have to use the law to punish him. Police have the power to defend themselves when someone is attacking them or when someone is refusing to be arrested. However, in this case, the seven police officers did not use violence based on these two conditions. Even though the police officers are under huge pressure, I think Hong Kong can take this ruling to tell all the people that no one is above the law.

Yuki Lam Yuk-yu, 16, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Two years is not a fair sentence. The judge listed a few factors that were different from other cases. The public trusts the police to maintain law and justice, but the police violated this. The only way to maintain public confidence is by sentencing them to a harsh punishment. Then, others will not dare to defy the law.

Carmen Cheung, 15, Our Lady of the Rosary College

I don’t agree with the sentencing. The police should be known to use fair and peaceful ways to maintain social order. Their responsibility is to catch the people who violate to the law, not use violence to punish the criminal. They should maintain a positive image and be good role models to the public so as to let the public respect and imitate them. On the contrary, these seven police officers violated everything.

This case makes public lower their confidence in the police. If police officers are also breaking the law, how can public believe in them? They believed that their behaviour was right and did not have any remorse. I think this is the main point that makes me think two years in prison is not enough. It should be more serious.

Kary Cheung, 13, Tak Nga Secondary School

I think it is fair for the police to go to jail because they really did something wrong. No one should ever try to fight or attack others. To make things worse, these are police officers! Usually, when people are fighting, the police are the ones to solve the problem. The police should protect the citizens, not. attack them.

Our topics always get a lot of responses. In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss: should the shark fin trade be banned in Hong Kong? We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Is two years a fair sentence for police officers convicted of assault?


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