Li Keqiang

Probe over police action rejected

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2011, 12:00am


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The government yesterday rejected a call from pan-democrat legislators for an independent investigation into police action during Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hong Kong last month.

The lawmakers called for an investigation to be headed by a judge or to have a Legislative Council select committee investigate the row after a second special meeting of a Legco panel failed to establish whether police abused their power.

The government said the police and the University of Hong Kong were undertaking internal reviews of the security arrangements on August 18, and that a police watchdog - the Independent Police Complaints Council - was handling complaints related to the visit.

Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said the students who were locked up in a stairwell at HKU during Li's visit to the campus should take the row to court if they believed they were mistreated.

The Legco panel yesterday touched on the detention of three students during protests at the campus. It also delved into the discussions between the university and police on arranging a protest zone.

A document provided by the university showed that the police had asked to have the protest zone well away from a ceremony venue and that the university demanded police avoid confrontation with protesters.

Dr Albert Chau Wai-lap, HKU's dean of student affairs, said the university's security guards had attempted to mediate when the three students were stopped by police.

The three were dragged on the ground and detained for almost an hour. Chau said mediation was unsuccessful and the university found the confrontation unacceptable.

Registrar Henry Wai Wing-kun said that before Li's visit, HKU had not been informed about the number of police officers who would be sent to the campus. At yesterday's hearing, Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung did not provide a number.

Security chief Lee said the students should take legal action or complain to the police if they believed they were mistreated. 'If you think there were police officers involved in illegal action, I urge you to take legal action as soon as possible, so as to have a fair and justified investigation into the incident,' he said.

Samuel Li Shing-hong, one of the students detained, said Lee's comment was unfair. 'When the government does something wrong, why should it be a victim's responsibility to take legal action rather than the government review its wrongdoing?'

He said they would soon make a decision on any legal action.

Meanwhile, the security secretary declined to give further details about an incident in Lam Tin where a man wearing a June 4 protest T-shirt at Laguna City said he was taken away by officers wearing black clothes who refused to reveal their identities.

The man appeared at yesterday's hearing and urged the government to explain why he was taken away.