Construction worker denies 'whistling' assault

Fifty-year-old says he didn't deliberately target police officers during July 1 march - and that he had not even planned to join the protest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 5:21am

A construction worker denied assaulting five police officers by whistling loudly at them with his fingers during the annual July 1 march this year, Eastern Court heard yesterday.

Ki Chun-kei, 50, pleaded not guilty to five charges of assaulting police officers who were performing their duties. The alleged victims - all auxiliary officers - gave evidence yesterday, saying the whistling was sharp and loud and that Ki had targeted them. All five officers were in uniform. Ki said he had not planned to join the protest march. He simply followed the crowd when the road in front of Sogo department store, which he wanted to cross, was closed. He denied being drunk.

Auxiliary police officer Li Hung-kei, a full-time manager at a financial services company, testified that he noticed Ki holding a can of beer before the man charged towards him excitedly and whistled loudly at him.

"He rushed towards me and whistled right next to me. I turned away. I heard a 'wee' sound and it was reverberating in my ears," Li recalled. "I could not hear clearly for two to three seconds."

Li said he did not report the incident that day. He made a report after his supervisor asked on July 4 whether he had anything to report.

"I didn't arrest him immediately, because we were lectured that we should remain restrained that day and avoid being provoked by others," Li said.

Officer Wan Kam-fung, who works full-time as a reporter, said he felt "intimidated" when Ki leaned towards him and whistled. "It was very loud. It was as loud as blowing a whistle," he said. "I thought to myself, it's deafening me - was that necessary?"

Another officer, Winnie Cheng Suk-yin, who is an MTR marketer, said: "I was scared and felt humiliated."

Ki testified: "I didn't deliberately whistle at the police officers. I was not aware that they were around. Other people were whistling. I just followed suit."

But prosecutor Jonathan Man Tak-ho challenged that. He referred to a video, filmed by TVB news, of Ki whistling at officer Huen Kim-ho, and suggested to Ki that he had targeted the officers.

Played in court, the video showed Ki whistling very closely in front of police officer Huen Kim-ho. When Ki whistled, the officer turned his head away and a middle-aged man behind the police officer immediately covered his ears with his hands.

"You intended to use violence against the police officers by way of whistling," Man said.

Contesting Ki's evidence that he was not aware of the police officers' presence, Man said: "I put it to you that you are speaking nonsense."

The trial continues today before Magistrate Ho Wai-yang.