Hong Kong risks descending into a police state–and the “Shopping Revolution”

[Updated on Mar 2, 2016]

See arrest by appointment. See police action after the Fishball protests.

[June 7, 2016] Approval ratings of the police continue to decline 港大民研:警隊評分創四年新低

[May 31, 2016] See how decadent police and pro-establishment camp have become

[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

[Feb 5, 2016] More shaky police testimony at hearings of Occupy-related cases

[Dec 31, 2015] CY Leung appoints pro-Beijing member to police watchdog body IPCC:

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. 

[Dec. 10, 2015] UN Committee Against Torture urges gov’t to ‘duly prosecute’ police who used excessive force during Occupy

[Dec. 6, 2015] Google refused govt request to delete police brutality videos last year警方要求YouTube移除去年涉警車內毆打疑犯短片遭拒

[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:

Seven police officers who allegedly beat up Occupy protester charged, one year on

Occupy activist allegedly assaulted by police to be charged with assaulting policeOccupy 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

Justice Sec’s says ‘no political considerations’ in Ken Tsang beating case, draws disbelief

‘Support the seven police officers’: Pro-gov’t groups rally to commemorate anti-Occupy movement

Having Ken Tsang and the seven police officers in court on the same day is not procedurally fair

Hong Kong democracy activists plan UN case over police ‘torture’

Amnesty: Ensure due process in case of protester assaulted by police

Satire Harmonious Hong Kong brings adversaries together for a fair cop-out

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)

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[Nov. 21, 2015] UN Committee Against Torture questions HK police’s use of force during Occupy protest

[Nov 10, 2015] Hong Kong gov’t mulls greater powers for surveillance commissioner

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.

[Oct. 23, 2015]  Police abused their power when filming protester at close range, watchdog report finds

[Sep 27, 2015] Hong Kong police ‘friend’ request: force launches Facebook page to overcome post-Occupy negativity:

“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.

[Oct. 5] Not ‘liked’ genuinely enough: critical comments bombard the Hong Kong police force’s new Facebook page ; Police warn of ‘criminal consequences’ after Facebook page is flooded with abuse

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[Sep 25, 2015] A policeman quits because the police have lost political neutrality【一年.同袍說】警隊中立不再 離職警員:無法認同同僚所為 vs a policewoman’s defense 香港警察,無處安放的「政治中立」誰伴我闖蕩 vs. 南柯一夢

[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

[Sep 25] Action sought on cops who bear false witness against protesters

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

[Sep 24] Police watchdog yet to investigate 7 officers behind alleged beating of Occupy protester, 10 months on

[Sep 15] Occupy protester who ‘jogged’ towards police lines found not guilty:  

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.

[Sep 14-5] Police rewrite history of 1967 Red Guard riotsWhy are the police tampering with 1967 riots history?以過來人身份為警改六七暴動史護航 葉國謙:難道手無寸鐵的學生也是「暴徒」?

[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 22] Used baton as ‘extension of my arm’, says police officer

[July 23] Police watchdog upholds ruling that top officer assaulted Occupy protester

[July 23] Police officers are ‘bullied’ by provocative protesters, claims police watchdog chairman

[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

[July 27]  Public trust in police force reaches new low – survey

[June 11]  HKU POP releases popularity figures of Hong Kong disciplinary forces and the PLA Hong Kong Garrison

[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:

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[Feb. 27] Amnesty voices concern over HK freedom of gathering & speech  港警佔領十二宗罪 違反《人權法案》

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The Decline of Hong Kong’s Police: It’s becoming the long arm of Chinese law

[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 ElusiveOnly 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

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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

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The police have put the burden to prove innocent on the shoulders of the accused

Man cleared of ‘throwing’ barricades at police after news footage emerges

警片段證警先襲擊再拘捕 設計師獲撤襲擊罪 警曾稱「沒案發片段」

女子嘆自行找證據證清白感悲哀 

女收銀獲街坊片段證清白

Police launch internal review of how they handled Occupy Central protestsAssistant commissioner to review police conduct during protests

Hong Kong police stress use of public order law against ‘fishy’ gatherings

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.

Security review at Hong Kong’s Legco recommends searches of reporters

[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 limitationsPolice 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

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[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.

In Yuen Long on Mar. 1: Police use pepper spray amid chaotic scenes as protest against traders continues into the night; 圖輯】【水貨圍城】亞視記者被警胡椒噴霧「洗臉」; 【水貨圍城】警稱黑衣女企圖搶犯 網民質疑

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See Fresh clashes in New Territories protest against parallel traders. See video at【水貨圍城】百人阻拉人推冧貨架 警出胡椒噴霧

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[June 29] Do Hong Kong localists hate dancing? Sunday night’s protest in Mong Kok

… 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.

Another video

[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

Hard assessments of the retired police chief Andy Tsang 曾偉雄退休在即 — 回顧慈母、黑影的天方夜譚 ; 誰在辱警?人必自侮,而後人侮之

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[May 13] Here’s what is wrong with police identification parade:

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.

[May 13] Albert Cheng bristles at police remark to sales staff:

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:

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[Mar. 30] 練乙錚:香港有淪為Police State的傾向

[June 29] Scholarism leader Joshua Wong, girlfriend attacked after movie 

[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

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152445445341363&set=a.10150117742891363.283440.542866362&type=1

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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.

How the police overstepped the private court injunctions: Mongkok clearance & clashes with Police, disucssion with Margaret Ng

NOW TV and Apple Daily photojournalists/support staff were arrested and beaten, though the NOW TV staff was later released. Here is the statement by the HK Journalist Association :

The Hong Kong Journalists Association condemns in the strongest terms the second arrest of journalist covering the police clearance of the Occupy protestors in Mongkok. An Apple Daily photographer was arrested by the police while reporting on police operation in Mongkok yesterday evening. He was suddenly pushed to the ground, handcuffed and taken away. Other reporters in the vicinity asked officers for the reason for this shocking action but no response was forthcoming. A PPRB spokesman said the reporter had assaulted a police officer. Handcuffing a reporter covering a public protest is an escalation of anti-media actions in the current police operation. This is similar to the pouncing on a now TV engineer for allegedly attacking an officer in the same vicinity two nights earlier but subsequently released without any charges being made. These arrests are serious violation of press freedom enshrined in the Basic Law. They serve as an intimidation against the media from monitoring the police action. The message: “Don’t get too close or you will be arrested”. We condemn such brutal acts on the part of the police to stifle press coverage of the current crisis. We demand the immediate release of the Apple Daily reporter and an explanation from the police on the latest attacks. The Association is making an appeal to all members of the press and the public to submit to it any complaint and evidence of police interference or violence against the press. All evidence should be submitted to hkja@hkja.org.hk.

Riot police used pepper spray and batons in a bid to drive back the protesters and the clashes led to a number of arrests. Among them was award-winning international photo-journalist Paula Bronstein, who was detained after jumping onto a car to take pictures. Her arrest was later condemned by the Foreign Correspondents Club, which issued a statement accusing the police of “intimidating” journalists. (Violent clashes in Mong Kok cast doubt on government’s plans to break Occupy impasse)

A video of what happened when a NOW TV support staff was beaten and arrested: 《明報》Now新聞台攝得工程人員被捕短片 (09:25) and 旺角黑夜,now的長梯

An Apple Daily photojournalist was arrested for attempting to snatch a gun from a police officer 記者被屈搶槍全面睇. But people noticed that the officer in question was not carrying any gun! See this video. Also Journalists assail arrest of Apple Daily photographer and SCMP video.

New Zealand repoter was beaten up 新西蘭記者採訪清場 稱被警拳打腳踢送院

The police shouted at photojournalists that they should not use flash light  東方 攝記因用閃光燈 被警記下資料

A 15-year-old intern was also beaten up Hong Kong’s Journalists Battle Self-Censorship, Intimidation and Police Violence to Report Umbrella Revolution佔領運動下警察與傳媒關係惡化

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Clippings from media reports and FB feeds:

Which side was charging when the police held up the sign “do not charge” on Nov. 25? See video and cartoon

Hong Kong police grabbed and arrested Joshua Wong from the crowd. Watch WSJ video. The text:

Police were quicker to use batons and to arrest protesters than they had been in the past as they opened roads on Wednesday in the densely populated neighborhood of Mong Kok. Two high-profile student leaders were among the nearly 150 people arrested in the operation, which ended around 2 p.m. on Wednesday. (Hong Kong Protest Site in Mong Kok Cleared)

People on sidewalks were beaten for walking too slowly and/or talking back to the police:

Innocent passersby were beaten or treated rudely by police officers who were trying to stop protesters from retaking the streets in Mong Kok… An officer attacked a pedestrian with his baton even if the man was following police instructions to leave without showing any sign of defiance or assault….a large number of police officers pushed people, telling them to move forward, and used batons against them. Many of the pedestrians said they were injured in the waist or shoulder. (Police accused of beating up innocent passersby in Mong Kok)

Law Yuk-kai, director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, said police officers might have abused their authority when by arrested ordinary pedestrians. “Unless the police can prove that the people they arrested were protesters, their actions are unacceptable, even crazy,” Law said. “It’s like being in a totalitarian state.” (Police tighten control of Mong Kok after clearance and 警察用警棍疑從後擊中過路市民人權監察稱不可接受) The police threatened to arrest observers as well. 阻人權監察 警:觀察員都拉)

Police officers are behaving like gangsters

DBC片段:有警司警棍打「過路市民」後頸 (20:26) 

大批警驅趕市民 「行得慢」被警棍毆

11月26日 7時 旺角地鐵站E出口 警察暴力拉打市民

響應「購物」都唔得 警察又趕又打人

警:驚就唔好出街 帶走口角青年 

Passers-by were beaten for shouting “don’t beat up people”  一句「唔好打人呀」 女子被警大力扯落地 頭撞燈柱入院

People waiting outside a metro exit were pushed into side streets and then accused of illegal assembly: 警佔領「菜街」製造混亂,百姓遭殃

Volunteer medics caring for injured protestors were also beaten by the police: 醫護義工譴責警方濫用暴力聲明:

其間,竟然不斷有警員公然向當值的義工醫生或護士揮舞警棍,在急救包紮進行時,凶暴驅趕。甚至有警員明言「你救人又點呀,照拉!」,企圖作出無理拘捕。… 有義工在為海富中心大堂為懷疑暈倒的便衣警員檢查時,遭另一警員不問情由,從後猛力拳擊,因而受傷。

And 女醫護中警棍 肌肉撕裂警追打醫護義工 亂棍阻救人

20141202-10805697_10152966360326579_8335291413288481442_n  10712430_654585614653696_3662838387539896171_o

A former police officer criticizes the politicization of the police: 老差骨鬧爆曾偉雄

A police officer quit after the use of tear gas on Sep. 28. He comments on worrying trends with the police: 《新聞刺針》 【我要考警察】

Protesters seek legal advice over ‘abuse’ while detained:

the treatment was in breach of Article 28 of the Basic Law, and violated the International Bill of Human Rights… 30 of those arrested were seeking legal advice on whether to take action over their treatment.

Academics staged a march to protest police brutality on Dec. 5: 大專界學袍遊行 不滿警方濫用武力

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Efforts to build a police violence database/ 雨傘警暴資料庫

This data includes how, when and where they were injured and the severity of their injuries. The setting up of this database is, firstly, aimed at building a detailed and genuine historical record of the sacrifices our fellow citizens and protesters made, so that they won’t be forgotten. It is also aimed at providing data for a review of the local human rights situation and the rules of engagement adopted by frontline police officers. (How to monitor and prevent police violence)

Data can be entered at 警暴受害者資料徵集計 https://docs.google.com/a/nd.edu/forms/d/1Bm4638auc1a0SLL8EBdzHwqqKkZCTGLmY4DgC_YisWk/viewform

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EOC to police: Watch your language:  Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination watchdog has warned the police about racist and abusive language when dealing with the public.

The Hong Kong police’s popularity continued to plummet:

Seven years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that the police force in Hong Kong — which as recently as 2007 enjoyed satisfaction ratings as high as 80 percent — would be less liked than the People’s Liberation Army, whose support rating has never surpassed 70 percent since a PLA garrison moved into Hong Kong following the city’s handover to China in 1997. But Hong Kong’s current police commissioner, Andy Tsang, appointed in January 2011, is widely unpopular and carries a reputation for inculcating strong-arm tactics, particularly after he allegedly told a reporter in March 2011 that it was a “fantasy” to expect an apology after officers had pepper-sprayed a minor at a protest scene. Accusations of brutality during the demonstrations have hastened the police’s slide from favor and reinforced a sense that the city’s law enforcement, once lauded for their gentle touch with crowd control, are bullying the public instead of protecting it. Condemned as “black cops,” Chinese slang for police gone bad, officers were often caught on camera beating, kicking, and chasing bloodied pro-democracy demonstrators down the streets with batons and riot shields at hand, including in an Oct. 15 video that showed several police holding down and flogging an unarmed protester. (Seven of the officers involved were later arrested.) hk-plapolice-edit1

Also Hong Kong police now less popular than China’s PLA, after Occupy clashes

Police owe us an apology

Hong Kong police target Occupy’s ‘principal instigators’ after all sites cleared

Why be surprised? Black police have always been around:  黑警,其實從來都有。如果依個世界無黑警,點解依個世界仲有黑社會?

Meanwhile, sex workers complain that policemen exploit them  性工作者:港警宇宙最淫

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New HK identity card: smarter, more dangerous 

The new card will employ a built-in radio frequency identification (RFID) transmission technology to improve security and speed up data retrieval….  The enormous capability of the Hong Kong ID card as an instrument of social control has been clearly demonstrated in the 79-day Occupy protests. During the final day of the campaign, police officers did not arrest many of the pro-democracy activists in the protest sites but simply took down their HKID numbers. Armed with those HKID numbers, police can easily find out their address and take action to arrest them if the circumstance warrants.  An upgraded HKID card will vastly improve the ability of authorities to track down pro-democracy activists and take action on them.

Another analysis by Margaret Ng in Chinese 

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The police said that officers treated protestors like loving mothers. This remark inspired the following satirical song and images:

《真的毆你》 http://news.memehk.com/posts/reallyhityou

<真的毆你> 無髮叫禿鷹的一隻狗 帶出歪理永遠在背後 妄想得到中央關注 開口掩飾格外臭 沉醉於軍階 牠等讚賞  母親的棍卻永未退讓 決心衝擊金鐘V煞 鳩烏通通照塔 差佬棍棍暖透我的心  中指永遠無言地送贈 是你多麼清兵的目光  教我堅毅望著前路 叮囑我 老母應該毆你 入冊保釋怎可報盡親恩  愛意寬大是無限 攞警棍說聲真的毆妳

「慈母?持武」

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 10325594_1517937498480005_1936322194038062156_n10846078_749586505128175_6682921753686025339_n 10882221_10153481492769148_217195671862044585_n

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Maintain nonviolent discipline:

HK Federation of Students urges nonviolent discipline in the face of police brutality.  周永康:非暴力是最大武器. They are of course right. Maintain strict nonviolent discipline because you can’t win in the balance of forces/guns/batons.

10731095_651548848290706_5102245401373816673_n   10801503_869068709792203_876053042592653631_n

Win over police officers, however difficult:

It is also worth considering Srdja Popovic’s advice–focus the ire on the CY Leung government and try to win over police officers, even one at a time. Those ferocious faces that we have seen in the past two months don’t represent all police officers. Expand the ranks of civil servants who support genuine universal suffrage. Popovic’s message:

we, together, are the victims of the system. And there is no reason …to have war between victims and victims. One victims are in blue uniforms, other victims are in blue jeans, but there is no reason for that blood in the middle of those two columns. So we picked up four or five headlines in the news with that message, and we know that it produced results within the police. (http://www.aforcemorepowerful.org/films/bdd/story/hif/srdja-popovic.php)

From the beginning, Otpor had treated the police as allies-in-waiting. Otpor members delivered cookies and flowers to police stations (sometimes with a TV camera in tow). Instead of howling at police during confrontations, Otpor members would cheer them. (Tina Rosenberg, “Revolution U,” Foreign Policy, 2/16/2011. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/16/revolution_u)

Ken Tsang, the protestor who was beaten up in Admiralty on film, urged other protestors not to harbor hatred of the police. So did Kevin Lau, a journalist who was severely attacked earlier this year: 劉進圖感言:不要讓仇恨滋長 10574449_10152884628702448_2129128386210550757_n   10354941_10153001906062448_6877224942439104778_n

A protestor said “I respect good police officer” during the anti-police brutality march on Nov. 20- Dec. 1. 10515132_1033248180035446_4955473245795811654_o

However, an anti-govt group mounts online campaign against police http://www.ejinsight.com/20150102-anti-govt-group-mounts-online-campaign-against-police/

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Diversify methods [See “targeted boycott“]:

HKFS is talking about escalation in response to police brutality . See “Hong Kong Protesters Consider Moving From Streets to Government Buildings.” It is understandable why student leaders want to do something to show their outrage and to keep up the momentum. But don’t get fixated on methods of concentration such as occupy and mass demonstrations, think about potentially more effective methods of dispersal such as targeted boycott. And it is worth remembering how students’ satyagraha walk against the high-speed railway (反高鐵五區苦行) deeply touched HK people in 2010.

Paradoxically, the clearance of static occupy, a method of concentration, organically gave birth to flash or fluid occupy, a more sustainable method of dispersal. Occupy Mongkok mutated into a “Shopping Revolution” after CY Leung said: When the occupy site is cleared, people can go shopping there again. For how much longer can the police keep up this de facto curfew?

Occupy protesters in Mong Kok take to the ‘shopping tour’:

“Now it’s the reverse; we are on the offensive and the cops are put on the defensive,” said a semi-retired protester aged in his 50s who wished to be identified only by his surname, Ng. Having joined the gau wu tour nightly since last week, Ng said window shopping was “a lot more fun” than guarding the roadblock outside City Hall in Central, which he has done since the start of the Occupy protests. “This is not even illegal,” he said.

姚崢嶸:政治問題 「鳩嗚」解決:

原來所謂「升級」,不一定要爆玻璃。用武力抗爭,是下策;用和平,是上策;用幽默,則是神級。 所謂「升級」的第一重意思:「鳩嗚革命」,市民沒有佔馬路,只是行街(還是響應特首呼籲呢),行為完全合法(看市民如何大方接受訪問!),立於不敗之地,也完全無需「退場」討論。警察就算想驅散群眾亦「無法可執」,趕人走嗎?大家沿路去尖咀繼續鳩嗚。小巴入線公司再也無法申請甚麼禁制令,「幫港」人士也不能叫大家不去旺角吧。

See the dedicated FB created months ago: https://www.facebook.com/FluidOccupiers

Gouwu, gouwu, I love you

Satire 光榮退場,後會有期

繼續掩耳盜鈴,大家晚晚鳩鳴

我要同建制商鋪瘋狂window shopping

The Cantonese term 鳩嗚 for shopping is a new invention. When a woman was asked why she participated in an anti-occupy rally during the summer, she said in Mandarin that she came to “shop (in Mandarin: gou wu 購物)”. Pro-occupy people then created the Cantonese transliteration of “gou wu” which means “yelling nonsense”. See this page on umbrella terms.

With a new theme song: https://beta.m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Fapp.box.com%2Fs%2Fq06h544qrklo5ntg61oq and http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/enews/realtime/20150103/53296029

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And adoption of the “hunger games” sign outside of a movie theatre in Mongkok:

10382851_10152989193442448_9077353989659717813_n  10419609_10153389900599148_1604372422117316104_n

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Why pepper solution is more powerful than pepper spray:

A pepper spray-based solution used by police on pro-democracy protesters was “much more powerful ” than pepper spray and tear gas, according to a South China Morning Post photographer temporarily blinded by it yesterday.

警胡椒水槍戰陣續推進 一般眼罩不能抵擋 

Police brutality on the night of Oct. 15:   Group recalls ‘police brutality’ on horrendous night.  See video. Finally, Police force arrests seven of its own over alleged beating of Occupy activist Ken Tsang7 Officers Arrested in Beating of a Protester in Hong Kong. [July 13] HK protester ‘beaten by police’ wins first step in legal fight/ Judicial review allowed in alleged police assault on protester

Additional stories and commentaries:

China’s inflexible response to the democracy movement may yield exactly the results it wishes to avoid: an unmanageable political situation in Hong Kong and the spread of the demand for political freedom. (WaPo editorial, China’s crackdown in Hong Kong may fuel a long-term democracy movement)

Separation of powers took a beating in Mong Kok scuffles

I’m angry:

I’m angry at the persistent, gratuitous violence by the police now in Hong Kong against people on the street. And I’ll tell you who I’m angry at… I’m angry at YOU For tacitly accepting it as a consequence of people protesting for their rights. Persistent protest is not the cause of an up-spiral of violence by the police.

區家麟:有關警察,我還要說的是…; 區家麟:天方夜譚的一哥

范析852│警察旺角清場十宗罪 無視法律淪集體犯法部隊 (http://www.post852.com/范析852│警察旺角清場十宗罪%E3%80%80無視法律淪集體犯/)

The police clearance operation has destroyed the rule of law: 林行止狠批旺角清場毀法治 質疑港人能否「嚥得下這口氣」and 三權分立踩界? 權位失正混賬!

警察也是人,但不是普通人

這是我見過最令人羞恥的一支香港警隊

Arrested people sang “do you hear the people sing” in cells 做一晚孟德拉的感想

Raimondi College alumni slam police chief Andy Tsang

科大學生預告抗議 警隊缺席招聘諮詢

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Cartoons and images mocking the police’s excessive use of force, selective enforcement of the law, and destruction of the rule of law:

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10689991_394783424004592_1994583567849388334_n   10687032_547190745411368_2542589983415920951_n

10847413_677300779049855_2610201123351598777_o   10564999_10152456130667998_7404332733979011561_n

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10428481_784494154920958_1365394045817456311_n   10407426_10153003870637448_2650310460637582457_n

10329673_10152985982372448_4984148335133974381_o  10712891_10153601254135961_5312729449956527769_n1533933_10152589432902753_7848402914555114295_n    10704193_648818931897031_7923164234962085657_n

10547514_710977192312658_7529812531992518217_n  10525811_866998073332600_6039539443465022605_n  1506411_642521402526784_4236191314371432163_n       1460261_10152929236382448_6073306799118177668_n

  1392013_638591066253151_764395354132886915_n  1010116_10152940695502448_5280668259267726841_n

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Student drawing of a scene when a single woman confronted rows of police in Mongkok: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=955679917810475&set=pcb.955680521143748&type=1&theater

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A sign “civil servants do not beat up HK people

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Why do the police seem impotent in handling robbery?

警察叔叔現在,我們的社會出現鬧市持槍行刧案,這個時候,怎麼就看不見警察叔叔的英勇?這個時候,我們更需要警察叔叔。

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Police in riot gear on Sep. 28, 2014

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——

Anger rises in police unions over issue of mandatory retirement age

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11 Comments

Filed under Umbrella Movement

11 responses to “Hong Kong risks descending into a police state–and the “Shopping Revolution”

  1. Pingback: Nonviolent discipline — the protesters were not peaceful? | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  2. Pingback: Escalation by other means? | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  3. Pingback: Targeted boycott and noncooperation — “If we withdraw now, we would lose everything that we have been fighting for”? | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  4. Pingback: Is hunger strike effective? What could be more effective? | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  5. Pingback: “we thought if we could keep the revolution peaceful, it might lead to some changes” | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  6. Pingback: Which side is undermining the rule of law: protestors or the government? (Michael Davis) | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  7. Pingback: Which side is undermining the rule of law: protestors or the government? (Michael Davis) | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  8. Pingback: The “Freedom without Democracy” model is broken — why HK needs genuine universal suffrage | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  9. Pingback: Post-occupy: Divided over strategies; time for targeted boycott | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  10. Pingback: The End of Fake Universal Franchise (For Now) | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beyond

  11. Pingback: Fishball Protests–The Fateful Turn to Violence | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beyond

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