Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am
 

Welcome to the thug force

A coincidence, or have the police turned into a thug force since Andy Tsang Wai-hung took over as commissioner? In the three days that Vice-Premier Li Keqiang was in town the police wrestled university students to the ground, locked up one of them, arrested a man wearing a June 4 T-shirt, stood intimidatingly behind Democratic Party chairman and invited guest Albert Ho Chun-yan throughout a Li dinner function, kept journalists far away from Li and smashed a prop during a protest featuring legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung. All just a coincidence? Nonsense. Police chief Tsang came swaggering into office talking like a tough-guy sheriff who would not shy away from strong-arm tactics to trample on anything that didn't accord with his version of free speech. He's taking us towards police behaviour more commonly found in totalitarian states than free societies. Public Eye knows Ho well. He fights for democracy, but in a reasoned way. He's never violent. So why did the police place a man to monitor his every movement during the Li dinner? It's an insult to our free society, to democracy and to Ho's voters. Tsang deployed about 3,000 police officers a day - that's 10 per cent of the force - to protect Li. Protect him from what? From a real security threat? Or from seeing the side of Hong Kong not comprising tycoons and shoeshiners?

Not a man to say sorry

University of Hong Kong vice-chancellor Professor Tsui Lap-chee said sorry for the thuggish way the police treated students during Li Keqiang's visit to the campus. But don't expect police chief Tsang to do the same. He has made it clear from the start he's not a man who says sorry, unlike his predecessor who was man enough to admit mistakes. No problem, Mr Tsang, go wrestle more kids to the ground if you think that makes you a man. But remember this: they're our future leaders, businessmen, doctors, engineers and so on. You've paraded before them the ugly images of police heavy-handedness. Is that the picture of your force you want to ingrain in their minds?

A team to ride roughshod over us

There's something you should know about Henry Tang Ying-yen - the man who wants to be our next chief executive: he's fine with police chief Tsang's bullying tactics. To the media he has this taunt: complete rubbish. That was his retort to media complaints that the police meddled with press freedom by keeping reporters far away from Li Keqiang. Maybe for Tang, 100 metres is not far. Maybe for Tang, media access means putting reporters through stringent security checks only to confine them to covering Li by watching TV monitors. Maybe for Tang, press freedom means supplying the media with government propaganda. This is the man who wants to lead us. This is the man who will team up with Sheriff Tsang - and together they'll ride roughshod over us.

Read the riot act to tycoons

Fix deep-rooted problems. Take care of the grass roots. That's the message top mainland officials periodically send to our leaders. Li Keqiang did the same, although not so bluntly. He told Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to reduce negative factors in society, maintain social stability and help the underclass with livelihood issues. Fine words, but what does he expect Tsang to do? The bureaucrats didn't create the underclass by themselves. The tycoons had a lot to do with it, too. Li needs to send them a blunt message. The tycoons are sucking us dry with monopolies, sky-high property prices and tax evasion. The bureaucrats bow to them because they have the ear of Beijing. If Beijing wants to help the underclass, read the riot act to the tycoons.

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