Source: Amnesty International –
A new Amnesty International field investigation has documented an alarming pattern of the Hong Kong Police Force deploying reckless and indiscriminate tactics, including while arresting people at protests, as well as exclusive evidence of torture and other ill-treatment in detention.
After interviewing nearly two dozen arrested persons and gathering corroborating evidence and testimonies from lawyers, health workers and others, the organization is demanding a prompt and independent investigation into the violations, which appear to have escalated in severity since the mass protests began in June.
“The Hong Kong police’s heavy-handed crowd-control response on the streets has been livestreamed for the world to see. Much less visible is the plethora of police abuses against protesters that take place out of sight,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.
“The evidence leaves little room for doubt – in an apparent thirst for retaliation, Hong Kong’s security forces have engaged in a disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics against people during the protests. This has included arbitrary arrests and retaliatory violence against arrested persons in custody, some of which has amounted to torture.”
More than 1,300 people have been arrested in the context of the mass protests that started over proposed legislative amendments that would have allowed for extradition to mainland China. While the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, there has been violence, which appears to be escalating alongside excessive use of force by the police. Most people who spoke to Amnesty International requested anonymity, citing fears of reprisals from the authorities amid a climate of impunity.
Interviews of arrested persons and lawyers by Amnesty International show that police violence most commonly occurred before and during arrest. In several cases, detained protesters have also been severely beaten in custody and suffered other ill-treatment amounting to torture. In multiple instances, the abuse appears to have been meted out as “punishment” for talking back or appearing uncooperative.
A man detained at a police station following his arrest at a protest in the New Territories in August told Amnesty International that after he refused to answer a police intake question, several officers took him to another room. There, they beat him severely and threatened to break his hands if he tried to protect himself.
I felt my legs hit with something really hard. Then one [officer] flipped me over and put his knees on my chest. I felt the pain in my bones and couldn’t breathe. I tried to shout but I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t talk.