Sat, Jan 14, 2006 - Page 4 News List

HK police complain about Catholic bishop's criticism


Hong Kong police officers were yesterday preparing a letter to the Pope to complain about criticism of their handling of anti-globalization protests by the city's Catholic bishop.

Outspoken Bishop Joseph Zen (陳日君) attacked police for the way they responded to violent protests during December's WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong.

He said he felt "ashamed" as a Hong Kong person over the way police rounded up and arrested more than 1,000 protesters following violent clashes at the end of the five-day summit.

Bishop Zen later made it clear frontline police officers were not the subject of his remarks which singled out "police leaders" for acting inappropriately.

The Police Inspectors' Association has now decided to write directly to Pope Benedict XVI to express their views about the Hong Kong bishop's remarks.

After a meeting on Thursday, the association said it decided to send the open letter because members concluded it would be "virtually impossible" to reach a common view if they met with Bishop Zen.

Bishop Zen is a constant thorn in the side for the Hong Kong establishment, regularly criticizing the government for failing to respond to demands for democracy in the former British colony.

More than 100 people were injured when riot police and protesters, many of them from South Korea, clashed during the WTO summit. No one was seriously hurt.

Police used riot shields, pepper spray and tear gas to drive back protesters using bamboo poles and crowd-control barriers in the worst street violence seen in Hong Kong for nearly 40 years.

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