Action taken over police handling of Li Keqiang visit

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 7:10pm

A senior superintendent and a chief inspector were found neglecting their duties for failing to reveal their identities before removing a man who was wearing a T-shirt commemorating the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown during Vice Premier Li Keqiang’s visit last year.

The two officers who would receive “verbal advice”, were among 13 police officers to be punished for their faults during Li’s visit to Hong Kong last August, the Independent Police Complaints Council said as it revealed its final report on the complaints received during the visit.

A total of 16 complaints, consisting some 40 allegations, were made against the tough security arrangements made by police for the vice premier’s visit in 2011.

Wong Kin, a resident of Laguna City in Kwun Tong, was removed by force by five officers from police’s VIP protection unit on August 16 last year as he appeared outside his home in block 26, wearing a T-shirt with the words “Vindication for June 4th” printed on the back.

He complained that the officers had assaulted him, causing injury to his right arm and shoulders, and the allegations were found “non-perusable” by both the police’s Complaints Against Police Office and the council. But subsequent investigations found that two officers who removed him did not display their warranty cards before taking action.

Wong said he was disappointed about the findings, saying as it was merely a PR stunt to release such a report. “It is such a big matter, but only two officers will be ‘advised’. It seems no one needs to be held accountable,” he said.

The report quoted the two officers as saying that they did not reveal their warrant cards because of the need to act quickly, but Wong did not accept this excuse.

“Officers were investigated by police… yet, the council only monitored the procedure. Do you think the probe is independent? Such a result was to be expected,” he said.

He insisted police officers had injured him, but admitted that he had not given any statement to the police as he was going to apply for legal aid to sue the police for compensation. He feared that any statement given to the police would affect any potential legal proceedings.

The report recommended that there should be better communication between frontline officers and the central command unit, as well as clearer guidelines for officers. It also recommended enhancing communication between police, members of the public and the press at such events.

The police watchdog also said on Wednesday it had received a total of  2,840 reports of complaints against police in the 12 months to March 31 – down 20.6 per cent from the same period the previous year.

The complaints were investigated by the Complaints Against Police Office and endorsed by the IPCC.

The IPCC vetted 3,145 complaints in the same period, including some held over from the previous year. They covered 6,239 allegations of misconduct.

Many of the allegations vetted by the IPCC – 2,910 cases – concerned neglect of duty.

There were 2,271 complaints about misconduct, improper manner and use of offensive language, while 417 involved assault.

In one case, a sergeant was found not at fault in an allegation that he poked a finger into a reporter’s eye outside the Central government liaison office in 2010.

In the same period the previous year, the IPCC received reports of 3,576 complaints.