Student group accuses police of harassment
Thomas Chan and Simpson Cheung
The police watchdog is poised to follow up claims from students campaigning against national education that officers unjustifiably checked their ID cards and recorded names, addresses and phone numbers.
The Scholarism protest group accused police of suppression after members set up 10 roadside stations to collect signatures for a petition.
'A plain-clothes police officer approached us in Fanling and hassled us to get our contact details,' said convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung. 'He returned with a uniformed policeman to ask us to turn off the loudspeaker.' After repeated requests, he finally identified himself as a policeman, Wong said.
Police also took students' phone numbers and addresses 'without legitimate reasons' at the Tsim Sha Tsui petition site, added Wong. The police said they were acting on complaints from the public.
Ricky Chu Man-kin, general secretary of the Independent Police Complaints Council, said the council would most likely follow up the claims, although it had not yet received any complaints. He said plain-clothes officers would normally show their warrant cards.
Meanwhile, an alliance of concern groups said if the government did not scrap the national education lessons it would organise boycotts of the classes.
Spokeswoman Bobo Yip Po-lam said: 'We think the 90,000-strong rally on July 29 clearly demonstrated what Hongkongers are demanding, but the government is willfully ignoring our voices.'
Yip said the group would be displaying 'biased and brainwashing' material tomorrow and on Sunday, August 19, at Time Square, Causeway Bay, and on the Sai Yeung Choi pedestrian street in Mong Kok. The alliance would also hold sit-ins at all government primary schools to appeal for schools' their support, starting from August 21 for five days.
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union is advocating that teachers sign a 'charter of conscience', promising they will be impartial and allow students to throughly understand their motherland and nurture respect for the spirit of democracy.