Monday, February 4, 2019

Reporter takes police chief to court over officers’ alleged assault - South China Morning Post

A Hong Kong news reporter is pursuing a legal claim against the city’s police chief over an alleged assault on him by officers while covering the Mong Kok riot three years ago.

Lincoln Tang Lik-hang, formerly with Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao Daily, said police officers dragged him off a bus from where he was observing events, pushed him to the ground, kicked and then beat him with batons, even after telling them he was a journalist.

Tang lodged a report with the force’s internal Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO), but his case was thrown out last July after a 2½-year investigation judged his complaints to be “inconclusive” and “not pursuable”, despite media footage of the alleged attack on February 9, 2016.

The force’s watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), agreed with CAPO’s findings. Tang has since filed an appeal, which is under review.

In a statement on Sunday, Tang said he would be submitting personal injury claims as the three-year time limit to commence such legal proceedings was coming up. He applied for legal aid last week.

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“The incident is now almost three years old. I am very disappointed that the police investigation has failed to deliver me justice,” he said.

“I have decided to formally file a compensation claim for personal injury through the District Court from the commissioner of police, tomorrow [Monday].”

Tang stressed the amount of compensation was not important and he harboured no resentment towards those involved. But he said the incident was a threat to press freedom and that the police should acknowledge their responsibility and prevent such incidents from happening again.

A police spokeswoman said CAPO received the request for a review of its investigation results, and had handled it “according to established procedures in a fair and just manner”.

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In a statement, the Ming Pao Staff Association said it would provide full support and assistance to Tang and urged the IPCC to handle the appeal as soon as possible to avoid “indefinite delay” and to reveal all relevant reasons for the final decision.

Over Lunar New Year in 2016, a hawker control operation in one of the city’s most popular shopping districts turned ugly, descending into a night of clashes between protesters and police.

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