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Opening remarks by Police Chief Superintendent at press conference

     Following are the opening remarks by the Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Mr Hui Chun-tak, at the press conference today (October 31).

     In response to a group's claim that Police had allegedly 'downgraded' the investigation of a complaint against Police case from criminal investigation to internal investigation, I would like to point out that this allegation is factually wrong, and shows a lack of understanding of the complaint against Police procedures.

     The complaint against Police mechanism is two-tiered. All complaint cases will be passed to the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO), which is responsible for investigating both general complaints against Police as well as complaints involving crime. A criminal investigation approach will be adopted if the investigation reveals any criminality. CAPO officers are experienced criminal investigation officers who have undergone criminal investigation training with substantial investigation knowledge, skills and experience. As such, they are both competent and duty bound to handle general complaint cases as well as complaints involving criminal allegations.

     On completion of the associated criminal justice procedures, the complaint investigation result and recommended course of disciplinary action will be passed to the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) for review.

     Under the current complaint mechanism, CAPO often investigates complaints with criminal element, such as cases involving the allegations of 'perverting the course of justice' and 'assault'. Therefore, the so-called 'downgrading' allegation is groundless as the current handling procedures follow the established mechanism.

     The Police complaints system, which has proved to be effective, is kept under IPCC's scrutiny to ensure fairness and impartiality. The interviewing procedures as stipulated under the IPCC Ordinance are highly transparent, which allows IPCC Observers”¦ presence during investigation-related interviews.

     Some groups raised concern over the investigation of the use of excessive force by a group of seven Police officers. I must point out that it was entirely proper and reasonable for CAPO to take up the investigation as this is a requisite procedure under the established mechanism, given that the person concerned, when arrested, had indicated that he wished to lodge a complaint against the Police officers, and that the allegations were related to the complainees' conduct in the discharge of their duties. CAPO has, following the established procedures, launched a comprehensive criminal investigation in a fair and impartial manner and would seek the Department of Justice's advice at an appropriate time.

     In response to some accusations against Police for using excessive force, I must emphasise that the use of force by Police is strictly regulated and all Police officers have undergone professional training. Police are highly restrained in the use of force. Only the minimum level of force will be used and once the intended purpose is achieved, the use of force will cease.

     I trust we all remember that from the beginning of these illegal occupations, there were radical protesters and troublemakers mixing with other protesters in the unlawful assemblies. They incited those at the illegally occupied areas and physically charged against Police, snatching mills barriers and throwing them at Police, and even attacked and charged our cordon lines. Police had issued multiple warnings and displayed warning banners, which were however, ignored by the radical protesters and troublemakers, who continued with their violent acts. With no other alternatives, officers had to use the minimum level of force to uphold law and order.

     I must emphasise that Police would not tolerate anyone resorting to the use of violence and would take resolute actions to preserve public peace and public order, particularly when Police cordons were being charged with violence. I have to point out that if no one broke the law and resort to violence, Police would not have to use any force in law enforcement. Police only used proportionate force to deal with the illegal acts.

     Yesterday, Police arrested a 36-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman for dropping objects from height to the occupied area in Mong Kok. Subsequent investigation further revealed that the two arrested persons were also involved in the cases of dropping of glass bottles from height which occurred at the same location on March 4, October 12 and 27. In another case in Admiralty, a man reported that he was pelted with an egg inside the occupied area. The case has been classified as 'common assault', which is currently investigated by the District Crime Unit of Central Police District. And at six o”¦clock this morning, Police arrested a 56-year-old man suspected for defacing a wall of a secondary school in Sham Shui Po for the offence of 'criminal damage'.

     In the past month, Police have removed obstacles in Central, Causeway Bay and Admiralty areas to re-open different sections of roads, including Hennessy Road West bound, and East and West bounds of Queensway. Tram service has partially resumed and a section of East-bound Connaught Road Central, near Pedder Street junction with Edinburgh Place, has also been re-opened. Police have deployed a substantial number of traffic officers to direct traffic flow at major road junctions, to implement special traffic arrangements and to strengthen the enforcement against illegally parked vehicles to ease traffic congestions in the vicinity of the illegally occupied areas. However, the illegal occupation of major thoroughfares in Mong Kok and Admiralty areas are still seriously affecting the lives and livelihood of the general public.

     I would like to remind the public that the Interim Injunction Orders on the illegal occupation of roads in Mong Kok and the blockage of access to CITIC Tower in Admiralty remain in force. I urge illegal road occupiers to respect the rule of law and to comply with the orders of the court and to leave the occupied areas promptly. Police will take resolute enforcement actions against anyone using violence against those authorised persons in executing the Injunction Orders.

     Many citizens may participate in various public activities on Halloween this evening and during the weekend. I would like to remind members of the public to stay alert, be vigilant to personal safety and to follow Police instructions whilst participating in these activities, particularly in crowded places.

     I have previously pointed out that some radical protesters have openly encouraged others to hide their identity and wear masks during the illegal occupation of roads with a willful purpose to resist and to evade legal liability. I hope that the radical individuals and troublemakers will not use Halloween and the following weekend as an excuse to commit acts in breach of public order. I urge the others to stay away from these radical individuals and troublemakers. Do not mix with these radicals in the crowd and do not take part or be incited to take part in any act of violence. When Police officers are executing duties on the ground, do maintain a safe distance from them. We do not want to see anyone, especially students, being hurt when they place themselves close to radical individuals and troublemakers during their violent acts. Police will take resolute enforcement actions if anyone resorts to violence or disrupts public order.

     Currently, the illegally occupied areas and their proximities are still vulnerable to confrontations and crimes. The illegally occupied area in Mong Kok is of high risk with the presence of people holding polarised views mixing with radical protesters and troublemakers. Members of the public and students should stay away from these areas and should not bring children there to avoid any unnecessary injuries.

     Police have deployed sufficient manpower across the territory to maintain law and order and prevent crime. Police will continue to serve the public with diligence, determination and impartiality.

Ends/Friday, October 31, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:02


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