A retired policeman in court on Tuesday denied attacking a protestor and a journalist during competing rallies sparked by the case of a teacher who swore at police officers.
Yeung Chi-wai, 58, pleaded not guilty to three counts of common assault at Kwun Tong Court. The alleged assaults took place on August 4, the day supporters and opponents of teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze both staged rallies in Mong Kok, after a video of Lam abusing policemen over their handling of a Falun Gong protest went viral online.
Police supporters came face-to-face with Lam’s backers in Sai Yeung Choi Street South in Mong Kok, the street where Lam was recorded arguing with police.
The prosecution told the court that police had videoed Yeung as he dragged protestor Wan Ka-sing from behind after seeing him make a certain, unspecified hand gesture. The court did not hear which protest Wan was participating in.
Amid the tussle, Yeung then hit the chest of photographer Lo Kwok-fai as he fell to the ground while trying to take pictures of the scene, causing Lo to fall to the ground.
Yeung assaulted Lo again later that day, the prosecution said.
The former police officer had remained silent when interviewed under caution, the court heard.
When asked by Principal Magistrate Ernest Lin Kam-hung what his occupation was, Yeung initially replied: “I’m retired.”
Lin pressed on, asking: “What about before?” Yeung paused, silently, as prosecutor Esther Mak Wai-ling said: “The defendant is a retired police officer.”
Yeung asked for a “longer time for trial” but the magistrate told him a trial date had yet been fixed because he was still not legally represented. Yeung was told to hire a lawyer before his next court appearance on December 9.
Six witnesses, including the two victims and other journalists, would be available for testimony, the prosecution said.
Yeung was released on HK$5,000 bail, on condition that he does not leave Hong Kong or interfere with witnesses.