Li Keqiang

Complaint urged over police at HKU

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2012, 12:00am


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A lawmaker has urged the University of Hong Kong to complain to police about excessive force which, he says, officers used against three students last year during Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the campus.

Democrat James To Kun-sun said he would make the complaint himself, over officers pushing students into a stairwell, if HKU did not. An HKU spokesman said the university would look into To's request.

Lawmakers yesterday said they did not get a satisfactory explanation from police during a Legislative Council security panel meeting.

Lawyer Lester Huang, head of the university's panel reviewing the incident, said it was regrettable that police used 'unnecessary and unjustifiable force' against the students.

'The students exhibited no acts of violence. The police had other options [for handling them],' he said.

Before Li's visit, the university told police it did not want any physical confrontation or violence on campus, a HKU report said.

During his visit, three students tried to get to the Swire Bridge to stage a protest.

After security guards failed to persuade them to leave, a video from the university's surveillance system shows police pushing them into a stairwell of the KK Leung Building.

Yesterday, lawmaker To criticised police for breaking that agreement with the university.

'Police in this case did not have their usual authority, since they were there as a security agent of HKU, and there was no threat to personal safety or public order,' he said. 'They should have listened to HKU.'

Paul Hung Hak-wai, the police force's director of operations, responded by saying while it was a joint police-HKU effort, police were not obliged to follow university orders.

Officers followed internal guidelines on the use of force and were acting on university security guards' request for assistance, he said.

Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan criticised the police yesterday, saying they did not want Li to see students protesting.

The HKU student pushed into the stairwell, Samuel Li Shing-hong, has vowed to take legal action against the police for false imprisonment. He claimed the three students were prevented from leaving the stairwell for 15 minutes.

But Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun, dean of the university's faculty of law, said the security guard at the door had told the students they could leave, but they did not.