Activist's scuffle brings battle of the videos

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 January, 2011, 12:00am

Activist Chu Hoi-dick has criticised police for doing nothing while he scuffled with a security guard at a Yuen Long village, which is being razed to make way for the HK$66.9 billion high-speed railway to Guangzhou.

An edited video provided by Chu shows a security guard tossing him to the ground. But the MTR Corp released a video last night showing that Chu started the confrontation.

Chu said he did not edit the video, which was taken by other activists.

Workers began to move in this week to resume the land in Tsoi Yuen Tsuen in Shek Kong, Yuen Long, and residents are being moved.

More than 70 families are still living in the village - some finalising compensation and others negotiating with landlords to move to a new village.

In Chu's video posted on YouTube, he climbs up a fence to try to stop workers from pulling down another activist. The video then cuts to a scene showing Chu being grabbed by a guard who jostles with him and tosses him to the ground.

Police officers did not take any action, and some stood by with their arms crossed.

'He lifted me up and threw me to the ground with some judo-like technique. The weirdest thing is that there were many police but no one responded,' Chu said.

But in the unedited MTR Corp video, taken from a different angle, Chu appears to try to pull the guard away from the barricade first, but fails. The guard then grabs him and tosses him to the ground.

But Chu last night said he was not trying to pull the security guard away from the fence - he was trying to rescue a fellow activist. 'I was trying to pry the guard's hands off the leg of the other activist on top of the fence,' he said.

He plans to make a report to the police and will release the entire video after seeking legal advice.

Chu said he suffered injuries to his neck, hip and right hand. He received three stitches on his hand and said he could now barely move his neck.

A Transport and Housing Bureau spokeswoman said the land on which the scuffle took place was voluntarily surrendered by a villager and was now an office on the construction site. Workers were trying the fence off the area to protect the office and facilities.

She said someone tried to stop the fences from being finished and it was Chu who tried to push away the guard first. She said the guard's actions were self-defence. 'We regret that someone is trying to publish an edited video to mislead the public, lawmakers and media,' she said.

The MTR Corp said the security guard, who was hired by a construction contractor, was also injured.

Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said it did not matter who started the confrontation first. 'The main point is that police were standing aloof.'

Police said the incident happened suddenly and the officers nearby could not intervene in time. The incident is being investigated by the Yuen Long Regional Crime Unit. Officers at the scene asked Chu if he wanted an investigation, but Chu did not provide any information and said he would decide later, police said.