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LCQ17: Illegal acts and complaints stemming from "Occupy Central"

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, to a question by Hon Kenneth Leung in the Legislative Council today (October 29):


     Since the 28th of last month, the Occupy Central movement has triggered a large number of people occupying roads in Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok for holding assemblies (OC assemblies).  It was reported that some participants of the OC assemblies in Mong Kok said that they had been harassed and assaulted by people who opposed the OC assemblies but the police officers had failed to stop such people's acts effectively, thereby giving rise to an allegation that the police officers had enforced the law unfairly. Furthermore, some participants of the OC assemblies said that police officers had used excessive force in dispersing the participants of the assemblies and they had even allegedly assaulted a man who had already been subdued. The Police have openly called for the participants of the OC assemblies to lodge complaints with the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) if they are dissatisfied with the way the Police have handled the matter. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of requests for assistance in relation to the OC assemblies received by the Police since the 28th of last month, with a breakdown by nature of the cases as well as by the date and location of such cases; and the number of persons arrested at the locations of the assemblies, with a breakdown by the offence allegedly committed by such persons;

(2) of the number of complaints received by CAPO about the OC assemblies since the 28th of last month, with a breakdown by nature of the cases as well as by the date and location of such cases; and

(3) in each of the past five years, of the number of civil actions in tort instituted by members of the public in respect of the acts of police officers and, among such cases, the respective numbers of those cases in which (i) judgements ruled in favour of the plaintiff and (ii) out-of-court settlements were reached by both parties to proceedings, as well as the respective amounts of compensations paid by the Government each year to the plaintiffs of these two types of cases?



     Following a spate of unlawful acts by radical protesters, the public meeting on the pavement outside the Central Government Offices since September 26 has developed into an unlawful assembly. A large number of protesters of the "Occupy Central" have unlawfully gathered in the areas of Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok in recent days, blocking major trunk roads in an illegal manner as well as causing grave impact on the traffic and the daily life of the community. The nuisances they created have caused intense dissatisfaction among the public and people of certain trades, triggering the recent series of verbal disputes and even violent confrontations among people with opposing views in the areas of such unlawful assemblies.

     The Police have been handling the concerned unlawful assemblies in a professional and impartial manner with a high level of restraint, taking resolute enforcement measures in the light of the circumstances on the scene. In respect of the complaints regarding Police's handling of the concerned unlawful assemblies, Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) shall seriously handle them in a fair and impartial manner under the established procedures, and submit investigation reports on all reportable complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) for examination in accordance with the Independent Police Complaints Council Ordinance (Cap. 604).

     The Administration's reply to the Member's question is as follows:

(1) The Police neither have any statistical figures of requests for assistance in relation to the "Occupy Central", nor maintain any breakdown of arrests by location of assembly.

     As at October 27, a total of 332 persons were arrested for the concerned unlawful assemblies or the illegal acts stemming from such assemblies.  Such suspected offences include unlawful assembly, forcible entry, possession of offensive weapon, obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty, assaulting on a police officer, resisting arrest, common assault, criminal damage, fighting in a public place, disorder in a public place, indecent assault, causing nuisance in a public place, possession of imitation firearms, failing to produce proof of identity on demand, furious driving, criminal intimidation, attempted theft, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, arson, allowing objects to fall from height, theft, access to computer with dishonest intent, impersonating a police officer, possession of prohibited weapons, possession of Part I poisons and wounding etc.

(2) As at October 27, a total of 1 303 complaints from members of the public were received by the CAPO in relation to the Police's handling of the "Occupy Central". The major allegations involved in the complaints and a breakdown of such figures are as follows:

Complaints received by the CAPO in relation to the Police's handling of the "Occupy Central" (as at October 27)

Major allegations       Number of
involved in the         complainants
-----------------       -------------
Neglect of duty         373
Unnecessary use of      806
Assault                 85
Misconduct              25
Impoliteness            11
Fabrication of          2
Rudeness                1

     The Police do not have any breakdown of the dates that were involved in the complaints. By location, as at  October 27, a total of 1 004 and 284 complaints were lodged by members of the public against the Police's operations on Hong Kong Island and in Mong Kok separately, whereas the remaining 15 complaints were about the information or views disseminated by police officers on the media or social media.

(3) Civil claims against the Police generally involve a number of different situations, such as claims for compensation arising from damage to others' property by police officers in the discharge of duties. Members of the public or organisations may file such claims to the court, the Police or police officers.

     The Police do not have any comprehensive statistical figures of cases relating to civil proceedings in tort by members of the public in respect of police officers' acts.

Ends/Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:06


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