The seven police officers accused of beating Civic Party activist Ken Tsang during last year’s Umbrella Movement have been granted bail of HK$1,000 each, while Tsang himself was released at HK$300. The high-profile case is set to resume in court on November 17th.
In a surprise move on Thursday, Tsang was charged with one count of assaulting a police officer and another count of resisting arrest. Simultaneously, the seven officers involved were formally charged with police brutality.
The Hong Kong justice department alleges that Tsang splashed liquid from a bottle on a different group of officers (hence the assault charge).
The “resisting arrest” part was captured on camera by a crew from the local station TVB, and depicts a handcuffed Tsang being dragged by police behind a building before being beaten.
The police officers involved in the beating were removed from their positions after the video aired. Later the Hong Kong Civil Rights Observer claimed that the police force of the Philippines is more transparent than Hong Kong’s finest.
Ken Tsang has accused the government of trying to redirect attention away from potential abuses the police force may be guilty of, and claimed that “the government is politically persecuting [me by] turning the claimant into a defendant.”
Mabel Au, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, agreed in a statement: “The government is trying to draw attention away from this important case of police accountability through what many see as the politically motivated timing of Ken Tsang’s simultaneous arrest and prosecution.”
Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong’s Secretary of Justice, has denied the accusation that the charges were politically motivated, and insisted that they were done in accordance with the law.
Ken Tsang is not the only person to have been assaulted for his political views in Hong Kong. In June, student leader Joshua Wong was assaulted by an unknown assailant presumably because of his role in the Umbrella Movement.
By Stanley Yu