Handcuffed journalist's complaint upheld

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 April, 2003, 12:00am

Police officer faces disciplinary action for the move to clear abode seekers' protest

A police officer is facing disciplinary action for handcuffing a journalist who refused to go to a press area during a police operation to clear right of abode seekers at Chater Garden last year.

The force substantiated a complaint against the use of handcuffs after watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Council rejected the result of its earlier investigation, which found the allegation could not be proven.

On April 25 last year, police cleared scores of right-of-abode seekers from Chater Garden, where they had been camping to protest against a landmark ruling handed down on January 10.

Clashes broke out between journalists and the police, who had asked all reporters to enter the press area. A Cable TV cameraman was handcuffed after he refused.

The police received several complaints from the media following the operation, including not arranging a press area properly, forcing journalists to enter the area, misconduct and improperly using handcuffs.

Police told the council yesterday that only the improper use of handcuffs could be proven. Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Yam Tat-wing said the officer responsible would face disciplinary action.

'We have learned a precious lesson this time and will do better in future,' he said.

Mr Yam did not say if the force would offer an apology to the cameraman, but said it would inform him of the result by post.

Chief Superintendent Cheng Mo-see said the force would undertake a review of its internal guidelines on the use of handcuffs and brief frontline officers on the importance of working with and helping the media.

She added that measures had been taken to enhance co-operation with the media, including holding seminars for frontline officers and journalists. Eight had been conducted already, she said.

The force has also produced a video focusing on co-operation, with help from the Hong Kong Journalists Association, and the tape would be used to train frontline officers.

The police received 620 complaints in the first two months of this year, 10.3 per cent more than in the same period last year.