Prodigy sues police chief for prejudice
A 12-year-old prodigy is suing the police for discriminating against his Indian race after he was arrested for assaulting a woman when, according to him, he was the one being beaten.
Hong Kong-born Arjun Singh (pictured), who was 11 when he had an encounter on an escalator with a woman that led to him being detained for five hours, had lost confidence in the police and suffered nightmares and depression as a result of his ordeal, according to a statement of claim filed at District Court yesterday.
Singh, a gifted child who, lawyer Michael Vidler said, had been accepted by an overseas university, was seeking compensation and an apology from the Commissioner of Police and Constable Hung Kai-kam.
He and his family said Hung and another unidentified officer breached the Race Discrimination Ordinance by failing to provide a policing service to the boy on January 6 last year. 'I'm very sad,' the prodigy's mother, Anita, said yesterday. 'My son was a just an 11-year-old boy. Instead of helping him, the police arrested him.'
She said they also failed to serve a wider cause. 'Discrimination happens all the time,' she said.
Vidler said the boy and Chan Yuet-lai had an argument after he accidentally brushed the woman's hand when walking up an escalator at Wan Chai MTR station.
The boy said sorry, but the woman shouted at him, grabbed his arm, bruising him, and tore his jumper, Vidler said. She held the boy for more than five minutes during which he tried to struggle free, but failed.
The boy and Chan made separate calls to the police. But when Hung and his partner arrived they talked only to Chan. Without further investigation or taking witness statements, Hung arrested the boy, Vidler said.
The boy, who was later joined by his mother, was taken to Wan Chai police station where he was detained for more than five hours before being bailed.
The charges against him were not dropped until three months later when Vidler wrote to then Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Kevin Zervos, to ask for an explanation.
Zervos dropped the charge on April 13 last year and expressly commented in a letter that Chan had behaved inappropriately, the lawyer said.
The family is asking the court to declare that Hung and the Commissioner of Police failed to keep the peace and protect the public, refusing to prosecute Chan despite what they called 'overwhelming evidence' against her.
The family wants the court to order Hung and the commissioner not to repeat or continue similar unlawful conduct, and carry out an investigation into Hung's conduct and take necessary disciplinary action against the constable.
Besides compensation, the family is asking Hung and the commissioner to run a full-page apology advertisement in all major newspapers and give them a written apology.