Alpais Lam

Teacher says sorry again for Mong Kok row - but not to police

Woman apologises to school while insisting officers were impolite in Mong Kok dispute

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 2:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 August, 2013, 8:59am

The teacher at the centre of a chaotic Mong Kok rally on Sunday has apologised for the second time to her school, pupils and their parents over remarks she made to the police two week ago.

Alpais Lam Wai-sze said she hoped the row would come to an end - but she said she would not say sorry to the officers she flung foul language at because they were impolite to her in the first place.

Rally organiser Leticia Lee See-yin, of the Parents' Association, said Lam should apologise directly to the police.

On July 14, police were called in after members of the Youth Care Association encircled Falun Gong members holding a rally near Sai Yeung Choi Street and displaying banners.

Officers cordoned off the area but Lam slammed the way they were dealing with the dispute and was threatened twice with arrest.

The heated exchange was recorded on video, and on Sunday, a full-scale row broke out between Lam's supporters and detractors in the pro-police rally.

"I still think the way those officers handled the dispute was inappropriate," she said. "Their [way of expression] was inappropriate in the first place, so I won't apologise to them."

But she regretted the trouble the incident brought to her primary school, the Pui Ling School of the Precious Blood in Fanling, she said, so she apologised again and hoped to put the matter behind her.

"Enough is enough, and [the incident] should come to an end," she said. "Everyone should start a new life in peace."

Lam praised police arrangements on Sunday, when officers formed a human chain to separate the two sides from further scuffles. "If [the dispute between] the Falun Gong and Youth Care Association had been handled in the same way, I believe I would not have shouted at anyone on the street that day," she said.

Lee said: "It's Lam's choice to refuse to apologise to the officers on duty that day, but it means she thinks she was right."

She said she had received threatening calls before the rally and had suffered minor injuries when someone stormed the stage and hit her on the arm. Lee said the anonymous calls continued after the rally and she had not gone home that night.

Separately, police have identified two men who allegedly assaulted Ming Pao photographer Tang Chung-wang.

Tang said he saw protesters push a Next Magazine cameraman and went to take photos when people tried to grab his camera. "I told them I was a photo journalist, but they kept hitting me," he said

Tang said the shoving went on for about a minute before police intervened.

On Sunday night, a video uploaded to YouTube showed Next Magazine cameraman Lo Kwok-fai being assaulted while filming the brawl. Lo fell twice as Tang tried to take photos. Tang was then attacked by other men while several officers stood nearby watching.

Police arrested Lo's alleged attacker, 58, who claimed to be a retired policeman, and yesterday released him on bail.

Ken Lui Tsz-lok, of the Journalists' Association, said the violence seriously obstructed journalists from doing their job.