[Updated on Mar 2, 2016]
[June 7, 2016] Approval ratings of the police continue to decline 港大民研：警隊評分創四年新低
[Mar 2, 2016] The police arrested 1003 individuals, only 74 were convicted 佔領行動1003人被捕 僅74人定罪
[Feb 24, 2016] The police to receive a big boost in budget 警隊本年度超支 3 億元 來年預算開支再增 2 億 行動單位增幅最高
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has appointed four members, including anti-Occupy activist Barry Chin Chi-yung, onto the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC). The IPCC is an independent statutory body responsible for monitoring and reviewing the investigation of complaints against members of the Police Force.
[Nov. 22, 2015] Wen Wei Po reports that the Hong Kong Police Inspectors’ Association Chairperson Ngo Chi-hang has distributed four posters featuring pictures of disciplinary forces engaged in frontline law enforcement work, including one of the pro-democracy Occupy movement. The posters ask the force and their friends and their families to “cast a ballot you will not regret”, vote for “a candidate that contributes to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and only let “someone who does real work for the society” onto the Council. (HKFP)
[Oct. 15, 2015] Ken Tsang’s case: The police belatedly charges not only the 7 officers who beat him up a year ago, but also Tsang himself:
Occupy activist allegedly assaulted by police to be charged with assaulting police; Occupy activist charged with assaulting and obstructing 15 police officers after ‘splashing liquid’ ; Yes to charges against cops but govt hits back with a low blow
TVB reporters who caught the beating on film resisted order to tone down the incident and change wordings (2014年10月15日 時事脈搏 無綫記者公開信:與高層分歧遭刪字眼(附全文))
Benson Tsang: Ken Tsang was handcuffed and then carried to the dark corner for beating (當時曾健超已經被捕並扣上手銬，根本已經沒有反抗能力，但一班警察竟然在眾目睽睽下將曾健超「齊心協力」抬到「暗角打鑊」。… 曾健超被捕後不是被帶上警車，竟然由一班「警員」有默契地將他反手背向天，然後抬往超過一百米以外的「喑角」毆打)
Proposed amendments to the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance will give Hong Kong’s Commissioner on the Interception of Communications and Surveillance greater oversight into the conduct of the territory’s law enforcement agencies. In a set of recommendations submitted to the Legislative Council, the Security Bureau recommends empowering the Commissioner’s Office to use wiretapping and other eavesdropping devices to monitor law enforcement agencies for illegal breaches of Hongkongers’ privacy.
“Forcebook”, as some are already calling it… a primary aim is to re-build public confidence in the 28,000-strong force that went from heroes to zeros with a large section of the community thanks to their controversial handling of the Occupy protests that started a year ago this weekend…In December last year, a survey by the University of Hong Kong showed the police were the least popular among the city’s disciplined services… Another HKU poll, released in June this year, said the gap between the proportion of people satisfied with the police force and those dissatisfied with it was at its narrowest since the 1997 handover.
[Sep. 26] 《傘後．一年》：警棍下的傷痕
[Sep 26, 2015] Legal scholar calls for database of false police testimony after Occupy cases reveal unreliability
only 209 or 22 percent of the 955 protesters arrested during the Umbrella Movement have been prosecuted as of July, Ming Pao Daily reported. Also, 40 of the 140 cases in which a verdict was delivered ended up with the charges dismissed or the defendants exonerated, the report said.
[Sep. 24] [一年．檢控統計】佔領200控罪審結 定罪率不足三成 濫控錯漏多
[Sep. 26] Dubious police evidence against Hong Kong Occupy protesters has shifted burden of proof in court cases: “Strange”, “dubious” and “impossible” are among the adjectives magistrates have used in dismissing police evidence in other cases against Occupy participants.
[Sep. 23] [一年 ‧ 警亂作供】檢控佔領者 警員證供屢被法官指不可信、矛盾、不符影片
A 27-year-old chef who was accused by police of charging cordon lines “at a jogging pace” during the pro-democracy Occupy protests last October has been found not guilty of obstructing a police officer… The footage then showed him running to avoid being hit by police pepper spray… He then fell over and was subdued by the police. The evidence contradicted the testimony given by police officer Ho Yu-hin, who claimed that the defendant repeatedly charged police cordon lines. Ho also said that he had assisted in overpowering the defendant, but there was no sign of Ho throughout the video.
[July 20] Police ask watchdog to review finding cop assaulted protesters with video
The Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO), part of the police force, has suggested Hong Kong’s police watchdog reconsider its decision that a senior officer assaulted Occupy protesters last year, Apple Daily reported. On July 10, the members of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) concluded on a 12-6 vote that Superintendent Chu King-wai used his baton to beat two passersby during a clearing operation in Mong Kok in November and was suspected of abusing his power.
[July 16] A Hong Kong Woman Just Got Convicted of Assaulting a Police Officer With Her Breast The extent of the officer’s physical injuries was not revealed; Protesters march to High Court over ‘breast assault’ conviction
[June 16] Civil groups urge police reforms after damning Occupy report http://www.ejinsight.com/20150616-civil-groups-urge-police-reforms-after-alleged-occupy-incidents/
In a report titled “Police Power in Umbrella Movement”, Professional Commons, a non-profit public think tank, said police excesses may have led to at least 2,067 citizens suffering physical or mental trauma.
The report, which was prepared in association with Hong Kong In-Media, an online media group, covered the period between September 26 and December 15 last year, when police sought to quell the Occupy street protests with a heavy hand, Apple Daily reported.
Professional Commons and Hong Kong In-Media jointly set up a database on police violence to help victims seek justice. ….
The report also pointed out that only 48 of the 955 arrested protesters during the occupy Movement, or 5.03 percent, have been prosecuted as of May, compared to the 12-86 percent prosecution rate range for protesters each year in the past.
In addition, people were convicted in only 11 of 32 cases where a verdict has been delivered. That marks a conviction rate of 34 percent, also clearly lower than the 47-53 percent range before.
The figures suggest that the police had abused their power in making arrests, the report said.
A FB page that posts videos showing police violence 嚴正要求警方停止暴力對待市民
The Civic Front asks the police watchdog to produce reports on alleged abuses during the umbrella movement:
[July 9] Justice re: police violence against protestors? Retiring police official in alleged assault faces review (with video)
While the police have been super-efficient in arresting protestors, they have taken the time to handle cases against protestors and journalists: For Hong Kong’s Most Famous Victim Of Police Violence, Justice Is Elusive. Only 3 out of 13 cases of violence against journalists in 19 years have been solved 19年13宗針對傳媒罪案 成功拉人僅3宗; and A year after brutal attack, Kevin Lau still awaits justice.
[May 14] Police face more questions over wrongful arrest of autistic man; the police refused to provide an English translation of the not-quite apology to the autistic man 【誓死不講apology或sorry？】為拉錯人表「抱歉」 警方堅持不提供英文翻譯
[July 29] Among 955 arrested, 100 have to “face legal consequences” 955名佔領被捕者 至今100人需「承擔法律後果」 40人無罪獲釋
[Mar. 28] The police arrested 1726 people but charged under 10% for lack of evidence 警去年遊行集會拘1726人 不足一成被起訴
Man arrested during the shopping revolution in Mongkok was released as the police provided contradictory evidence 到旺「購物」男子被控阻差不成立 警證供前後矛盾. Plan to sue the chief prosecutor for compensation: 涉煽惑非法集結獲撤控 陳白山擬向律政司索償
Two police officers made the same mistake in their testimonies against reporters 稱記者襲警 兩警口供同寫「農和道」被指夾口供
[Mar. 19] The six common charges against umbrella protestors: 抗命時代 警方常用/濫用的六條控罪
The police have put the burden to prove innocent on the shoulders of the accused
All police officers are to enforce laws governing public order “more strictly” to prevent any “suspicious” gathering of at least three people from turning into a protest, according to a new guideline from the top cited by multiple police sources… If necessary, another source said, the crack Police Tactical Unit would be deployed to patrol the streets. The stipulated enforcement actions are provided for under the ordinance, which since 1967 has outlawed any gathering of three or more people without police permission. The law came into force that year to crack down on pro-Beijing leftist riots against British colonial rule. It was briefly relaxed during the final years ahead of the handover – so protest organisers need only notify the police of their plans – but was reversed after 1997, making it a must to obtain prior police approval.
[Feb. 14, 2015] Hong Kong police force set for manpower boost after shortcomings exposed by Occupy: Hush-hush plan would see 500 new posts used to strengthen units that manage public order after pro-democracy sit-ins exposed limitations; Police seek more manpower and equipment after Occupy
[Feb. 15, 2015] Hong Kong police pulled down more web content in last four months than in previous four years: Force insists content is criminal but activists say they are targeting online political organising as rise coincided with Occupy
[Mar. 28] The police plan to buy 3 water cannon trucks that can eject colored liquids 警擬斥資2700萬元購3輛特別用途車 可噴染色液體
[Mar. 29] Police to beef up ability to gather evidence against protesters; [Sep 29, 2015] 成立新「搜證小隊」，警權更加張狂？
Pepper spray and police batons seem to have become the new normal, even inside shopping malls. The “shopping revolution” is mutating into an anti-shopping revolution, with Civic Passion and HK Indigenous protesting against “parallel traders” from mainland China. The police used pepper spray first in Tuen Mun and then in Shatin. Protestors should maintain nonviolent discipline so that police force backfires on the police rather than on protestors.
… bear in mind the enormous effort the police had invested in detaining this single person, and then how hands off they became once things got really serious and laws were blatantly broken.
… If getting the Beijing loyalists in was impressive, extracting them was a military operation to behold. The police effectively made an impenetrable blue tunnel for them to scurry through. It was an epic, superstar treatment fit for a king. Needless to say, tensions were now off the charts and most importantly, confidence of the “blue ribbons” in the area was at an all time high. The police had demonstrated in spectacular fashion which side they were rooting for, and so the fighting began.
At this point, let us remind ourselves of the first localist arrested – the man was chased 100 metres down the road, hog-tied and carried onto the police van by six officers. Yet when the police were now confronted with victims of assault, with obvious signs of injury and multiple people wanting to give statements, the police let them go. No hog-tying, no violent police takedowns and no pepper spraying. Those accused of the assaults were given the friendly shoulder tap and released out of sight.
… All in all, the night was a sad example of just how much energy the police will spend on detaining localists, while going to great lengths to avoid detaining their own so called supporters.
The aunties never featured in the night, not even for a minute. The night was never about dancing. The localists chose the dancing because they knew it would raise alarms with the authorities, and true to form, the Hong Kong police showed once again that they are now just a paramilitary force set up to defend the mainland Chinese. They are happy to let clear assaults pass by in plain sight, so long as those assaulting support mainland China.
[July 1] Andy Tsang was rewarded with a Bauhinia award for his hardline on the Umbrella Movement 處理佔領有功 曾偉雄獲金紫荊星章
three assault suspects and fillers in a police lineup were allowed to wear face masks and shower caps, making it impossible for their victims to make a positive identification. The three are accused of assaulting television journalists during last year’s democracy protests. Police officials later announced they had decided not to press charges due to lack of evidence, prompting the justice department to clarify that what they meant was they needed to investigate further.
Albert Cheng, founder of internet radio D100, said the policemen came to the shop in the Sheung Wan MTR station on Tuesday. One of the officers told a staffer: “So you people are members of the yellow ribbons”, Cheng was quoted as saying by Metro Daily Wednesday… Cheng said the officers might have engaged in political harassment which is a violation of their supposed neutrality.
The police’s intimidation of protestors is also contrasted with their inability to arrest criminals, esp. a gunman who stole luxury watches on Mar. 12:
[Mar. 30] 練乙錚：香港有淪為Police State的傾向
[July 28] Collusion between triads and politicians? 新義安總管大壽 政黑俾面雲集夜宴
In clearing Occupy Mongkok, the HK police again forgot the Sep. 28 lesson that the excessive use of force can only backfire rather than silence dissent, and that massive arrests can only strengthen rather than weaken determined protestors. By beating up and arresting even passers-by, the police also achieve the counterproductive effect of sending more people to support hard-core protestors. (See https://victoriatbhui.wordpress.com/?s=backfire)
Worse, some police actions show worrying signs that HK is starting to descend into a police state. This is what wikipedia says: The term “police state” has “taken on the emotional and derogatory meaning of a government that exercises power arbitrarily through the police.” Here is a longer, more academic, elaboration:
“Decisions of state leaders come in two basic forms, routine and exceptional. The implementation of routine decisions means that state officials in their regular practice attempt to fulfill and comply with standing laws and procedures that govern their activities. In contrast, the implementation of exceptional decisions comes when bureaucrats obey an order from an authorized state superior, such as a president or governor, that comes in response to specific circumstances that may be discretionary, or even potentially unlawful, under existing rules. For example, when the police investigate crimes defined by law, this is consistent with the implementation of routine decisions. When the police implement an order to overlook the crimes of a political ally of the leader, or frame political opponents of the leader for a crime they did not commit, this represents compliance with exceptional decisions.” (p.16) “Analysts of law enforcement have noted the potentially wide gap between ‘police power,’ in terms of the formal laws and rules that regulate police functions, and ‘police action’, the actual behavior of the police.” (p. 34)
“Overall, under Vladimir Putin, the Russian state showed a much greater capacity and willingness to deploy state coercive organs against opposition political parties, candidates, and groups. Russia’s power ministries were able to respond to exceptional tasks set by the state leadership in terms of fixing elections and cracking down on opposition demonstrations.” (p.99)”Power ministry personnel are more oriented toward serving their own personal interests or those of the powers that be than those of society as a whole; predation and repression dominate over protection in terms of law enforcement behavior and norms.” (p. 288) “to the extent that this regime of repression became institutionalized, attacks on regime opponents stopped being extraordinary tasks and became routine ones. ” (p.303)
“Putin’s philosophy toward the use of the law seemed [to be]: ‘for my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.’” (p.106) “A Russian NGO noted that almost all opposition demonstrations were banned or dispersed by the police … At the same time, pro-Kremlin groups… had no difficulty conducting marches and rallies. This is clear evidence that the new regime of repression was deployed in an exceptional fashion against antigovernment forces and was not simply part of a stronger capacity to uphold public order during legal demonstrations.” (p.98)
“What is ‘disorder’ in the eyes of a man in uniform? It’s the absence of control. If there is not control, there is the possibility of independent influence… The Duma [legislature] is not subordinate to the presidential administration? Disorder… Political parties wanted something, the mass media talked about something? All of this is disorder that must be liquidated. And they liquidated it. In seven year [under Putin], the chekists [security ministries] have completely changed the political system in the country, not changing one letter of the Constitution.” (p.62)
“as Charles Tilly famously argued, state building looks an awful lot like organized crime” (p.308)
(Brian D. Taylor, State Building in Putin’s Russia: Policing and Coercion after Communism, Cambridge University Press, 2011.)
Coincidentally, Chinese president Xi Jinping calls the judiciary a ‘knife’:
In an important meeting in early January, Xi stated that the party must ensure “the handle of the knife is firmly in the hands of the party and the people.”… Xi’s speech and the subsequent hoopla about the revival of the knife metaphor in state-owned media makes clear that the party still sees the police and courts as weapons, not neutral actors charged with enforcing the law. (China’s President Raises Eyebrows with Sharp Rhetoric on Rule of Law)
HK isn’t quite a police state yet. But the police are no longer the same police that I used to know. When I was little, my mom always told me: if you are lost and separated from mommy, don’t trust anyone else but the police uncles and aunties; ask them for help and they will reunite you with us. When my girl was little, I told her the same thing. Fast forward to today, that trust is gone for good. People are probably having nightmares about ferocious police officers wielding batons, shooting pepper solution and firing tear gas.
The HK police then and now:
攜手滅罪．守護香港 (雨傘運動真實紀念版) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5kEyAySyqw
The police are supposed to be impartial, serving the public interest and applying the law without regard to political affiliations. But that long-cherished neutrality has been eroded under CY’s watch. (See a blog post on police neutrality by a friend of the police 香港警察，竭力中立 and Li Yi on professionalism 專業)
During the clearing operation in Mongkok, it seems as if the police became fearful of HK people, beating up and arresting reporters and passers-by as well as protestors. The police are clearly trying to prevent re-occupation of Mongkok by protestors. And occupy supporters started to answer CY Leung’s call to “go shopping in Mongkok.” But how could the police distinguish protestors from ordinary passers-by in a place like Mongkok? I have always found Mongkok extremely crowded, so crowded that it can be difficult to stop to look at things without getting pushed by people behind me. If the police have no tolerance for crowds, they may as well shut down Mongkok altogether. Protestors have cynically remarked that the police are imposing curfew in Mongkok. That may well be the only way to keep Mongkok free of crowds, but that would be tantamount to declaring “war” on HK people (in the language of theories of state-society relations). It would also be the sure way to kill HK’s economy as well as freedom, and in full sight of the world. See Thousands of police stationed in Mong Kok to stop Occupy protesters re-taking the streets
When police neutrality goes, so go the rule of law and press freedom. See “the freedom without democracy model is broken.” And it is more broken today than a week ago.
[Jan. 14, 2015] Occupy protests a disaster for police, says frontline officer
Ah Fung (not his real name) is a typical police officer, politically neutral, always ready to obey his superiors and serve the public…. What frustrated Fung most was that the police viewed themselves as a tool of the government rather than law enforcers. Fung insists that the government intervened in the operations of the police. In the police academy, cadets were told that police serve the people by executing the law, and not by serving the administration… Fung also revealed that members of the police management have instilled the thinking that the protesters were the enemy. “It was like a culture that has spread throughout the squad, we were led to believe that we should support the police no matter what,” he said.