Chief won't retract 'shadow' claim

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am


The police chief yesterday refused to retract his claim that officers who blocked a cameraman from filming a protester's removal from a state leader's event last year were reacting to a 'black shadow' - but suggested he had been misled by his own men.

Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said the force would learn lessons from the Independent Police Complaints Council's interim report on the handling of the visit in August by Vice-Premier Li Keqiang.

The report was released last week and upheld 10 of the 40 allegations against the police and endorsed the Complaints Against Police Office's verdict on nine of the 16 complaints.

Tsang was widely criticised last year for telling legislators that two members of the department's VIP protection squad who blocked a Now TV cameraman's lens had reacted to a 'black shadow' and got their hands stuck in the camera. The cameraman was filming four men in black suits who removed a resident of the Laguna City in Kwun Tong who was wearing a T-shirt commemorating the June 4 crackdown.

The IPCC's report dismissed Tsang's explanation. Tsang said yesterday he had not had time to analyse his officers' account of the incident before being asked about it by the Legislative Council's security panel. He answered because he had wanted to clear up public concerns, he said.

But he said withdrawing his account now would be 'unrealistic'.

'A word spoken is an arrow let fly,' he said. 'It is unrealistic to talk about whether or not to withdraw my remarks.'

Lawmakers at a security panel meeting yesterday criticised Tsang.

The Labour Party's Cyd Ho Sau-lan said she was concerned that the credibility of the IPCC would be damaged if Tsang refused to withdraw his remarks. She also urged Tsang to consider information from his subordinates before passing it on.

'He should have analysed the information from his own officers, rather than parroting out what they said,' she said.

James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party said that if Tsang's decision to put his faith in what his officers said and refusal to admit his faults may undermine the public's trust in the police force.

Undersecretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok told the panel the police accepted and respected the IPCC's report. He said Tsang's comments last year were based on the limited information he had at the time, but the report had cleared up the matter.