• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 8:58am
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong police chief rejects claims in US report on human rights

Andy Tsang takes issue with a US report on human rights that highlights local criticism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 2:16am

An official US report on human rights in Hong Kong has drawn attention to local concerns over freedom of assembly and claims that police are turning to aggressive, abusive tactics.

Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung yesterday rejected those accusations as unfounded.

The report, compiled by the US State Department and sent to Congress, looks at human rights around the world. On Hong Kong, the report stated that while the government "generally respected" the rights of freedom of assembly in practice, "activists and pan-democratic legislators expressed concern that the government took a more restrictive view of protests at the central government liaison office".

"Demonstrators continued to claim that their ability to protest had become increasingly difficult due to Hong Kong Police Commissioner Andy Tsang," the report said. "Some activists also alleged that police faced no penalty for making arrests that ultimately were not prosecuted or were dismissed by the courts."

Tsang said that of about 7,500 public events held last year, only 40 involved police arrests.

"Nearly 70 per cent [of the arrests] were made because other people's rights or property were affected," he said. "The police took action on reports. I totally disagree with any remarks that say the police suppress freedom of expression or assembly."

Earlier, police sent a serious crime unit from the Sha Tin district crime squad to investigate a case involving graffiti that said "Xi Jinping Go To Hell", which appeared on a wall at Kam Kwai House, Kam Fung Court, Ma On Shan. A man was charged with criminal damage and will appear in Sha Tin Court on Wednesday.

The report said the Basic Law "limits the right of residents to change their government peacefully. The government stated that the current method of selecting [functional constituency] legislators did not conform to principles of universal suffrage, but it took no steps to eliminate the FCs".

The report cited complaints over the South China Morning Post's handling of a June 7 report on the death of dissident Li Wangyang as an example of what some media watchers said was a troubling sign for press freedom.

Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai said the 2012 report levelled "straightforward and severe criticism" against the city's human rights condition.

A government spokesman said the advice of the Department of Justice would be sought if police intended to press charges against anyone arrested over public order.


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This article is now closed to comments

SCMP readers accept US report is "fair and balance" and "agree with the report"? REALLY???!!
go to "You Tube", type in (see list below) and watch..
after review a few of the videos, please google if the US State Dept issued any reports on these and compare how HKPD fare? please....for the sake of truth seeking... do it NOW!
LAPD violence
Chicago PD violence
Seattle PD violence
San Francisco PD violence
xyz (fill in any US city) PD violence
So let me get this straight, if something bad happens in the US then China has the right to be even worse? Two wrongs equal a right? This is how criminals in the mainland act, when they break the law they just talk about what others have done.
Not that any of it is even comparable. How pat downs at airport security equate to the wholesale repression of religion in China? Even here in Hong Kong now a spiritual group is having its right to assemble intimidated through extra legal means by communist affiliates.
Thats all I'm going to say, unlike you I do not get paid to write my comments.
I wonder when the US will look at its own human rights issue. The US also uses pepper spray on protesters, even peaceful ones, in the US. The Occupy Wallstreet protests is one example. Also US military and CIA drones regularly murder people without a fair trial, and that includes women and children. I realize that China isn't perfect, but the US has committed plenty of its own atrocities.
The US State Department report sounds reasonably fair and balanced to me and I agree with its conclusions. It does not make any outlandish claims. Because I keep regular contact with friends and former colleagues in the Hong Kong Police, I can say with some authority that the Force has shifted its policing priorities from the prevention and detection of crime towards maintaining public order. There is increased sensitivity to anti-establishment events. Whereas minor breaches of public order used to be investigated and processed at the divisional (local police station) level, they are now handled by regional crime units or even the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau. There is a general perception of "overkill" amongst the middle and junior ranks of the police hierarchy with regards to their management's attitude and strategy towards the policing of public order events.
Nobody is saying Hong Kong's police is worse than China. But what people are saying is that US police departments have a long history of abuse and corruption. They have no business criticizing the HK police when their own house isn't in order.

I do agree that the HK police has taken more of a hardline approach with maintaining public order under Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung. But the HK police has a long way to go before they become brutal thugs like the LAPD.

Also not everyone who has a different opinion than you is paid by the 50 cent party. Have a little tolerance for opposing viewpoints for once, otherwise you're just a closed minded fool.
Here is the main problem with HK government officials........they reject claims on anything and from anyone.......without considering if there's any validity or truth to whether it's the US or anyone making claims against HK government's deficiency, the first thing they do is come out to reject the claims........This is what HK officials are best at doing...........period!
Silly boy, not only is the Falun Gong legal in the United States its leader Li Hongzhi resides there. The USA was founded on the principle of religious freedom after its original settlers escaped religious persecution in England. Don't worry your poor grasp of facts probably won't stop you receiving the 5 Jiao for the message you posted.
in US, under our constitution and republican system of governance, our citizens work hard to help police...
below is one public service education video facilitating police-civilian collaboration..
pepper spray? of course NOT! pepper spray is the "gentle reminder". you need some serious citizen education. please see this one..
hard times !
generally speaking,what the report said about our Police Force under the leadership of the Hawkish Andy Tsang is right and correct ! More and more pan-democratic lawmakers and activists are arrested these years ever since this Hawkish Tsang took up his post as the Police Head.The activists were not arrested at the scenes (e.g.outside the Liaison Office in Western or the Government Headquartes in Admiralty) during or just after their actions/demonstrations but maybe later or after a few months then they are suddenly confronted by plainclothes cops and handcuffed ! How dirty the tricks played by these cops/ Hong Kong Public Bureau guys, I should say ! Shame on them !
you got me wrong. i am saying, US police is WORSE than China's where our police regularly beat up, punch out citizens. some unlucky civilians even got shot at, killed by trigger happy police. if you are black or latinos, the police brutality is even worse. you never see that in Hong Kong where police seldom take the gun out of holster. the problem in our PDs is so bad that many PDs are under federal monitor mandate to reduce cop violence. truth is, Rodney King type of incident is very common and rampant. bottom line, i trust a hong kong police officer a lot more than any police officers in US where cops=licensed thugs. finally, i mean this serious, just look at their body shape... all fat and obese, telling you something about their personal discipline and hygiene.
Pretty much every single government in the world does this. I really hate it, but it's true.
>> Tsang said [...] last year, only 40 involved police arrests. "Nearly 70 per cent [of the arrests] were made because other people's rights or property were affected," <<
And what was the reason for the remaining 30% (12) arrests?
The United States has a lot of chutzpah accusing others of not respecting rights of assembly and freedom of speech after the way it treated the Occupy Wall Street protestors and university students recently. In the US, something like the Falong Gong would have been cleared out years ago.
Yes, the US Gov't does have its moments of "chutzpah" but at least its citizens can vote out representatives that they feel are not properly representing them.
US, religious freedom? try to go to any US airport and tell everybody there you are a devout muslim.... -:)
It's hard to tell who's right and who's wrong. Pro-Democrats who take things too far, and often result to hurting the police, who by the way are just doing their jobs. Or the chief of police, probably another one of China's lapdogs.
But all the same, whoever wrote the graffiti "Xi Jingping go to hell", I SALUT YOU BRO.
you've got me. gracias.
that was going well until you mentioned the FG.


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