Thu, Jun 09, 2016 - Page 6 News List

HK activist tells court of police ‘assault’

FIGHT NIGHT:Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu said that police officers had thrown him to the ground, and kicked and hit him as he curled up against a wall

AFP, HONG KONG

A pro-democracy protester yesterday spoke about being “kicked and punched” during rallies in 2014 as seven police officers stood trial over the alleged attack.

Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu (曾健超) testified for the first time in the trial, which began last week. All seven accused officers have pleaded not guilty.

Police have been criticized over treatment of protesters during the rallies, which brought parts of the city to a standstill for more than two months. The demonstrators were asking for fully free elections for their future leaders.

Tsang, 40, said he was “assaulted” by seven men after he was subdued by police at a rally.

“I was dumped to the ground, then I was kicked and punched. I curled up my body with my face facing towards the wall,” said Tsang, dressed in a suit and yellow tie.

“I sensed I was beaten with [a] hard object. Someone stepped on me... I was in great pain. The pain lasted for a long time,” he said through an interpreter.

Tsang was shown video footage of the incident in which prosecution lawyers asked him to identify himself. In one clip, he was thrown to the floor before several men kicked him in a dimly lit corner next to an electricity substation.

The seven police, including senior officers, are charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent on Tsang, while one also faces an allegation of common assault.

They were suspended from duty after their arrests.

Tsang himself was sentenced to five weeks in prison for assaulting and resisting officers after he splashed liquid on police on the same night he was beaten.

Tsang has said the accusations against him were to distract attention from his case against the police.

Pro-police supporters gathered outside court, chanting: “We support our police force,” while several Tsang supporters carried yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the democratic movement.

Defense lawyers have said they will challenge the authenticity of the videos.

Footage captured by local network TVB and broadcast at the time showed a group of men hauling a handcuffed Tsang to a dark corner in a public park, where he was beaten.

One man stood over him punching him while three others were seen repeatedly kicking him. Nearly 1,000 people were arrested during the rallies, with student leader Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) facing a verdict later this month.

He was acquitted on Tuesday in another protest-related case.

The hearings come as tensions remain high in the semi-autonomous city, with fears growing that Beijing is tightening its grip.

Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement and enjoys much greater freedoms than mainland China, but there are concerns that those freedoms are being eroded.

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