Activists claim they were punched and spat on by police after being arrested in the early hours of yesterday as police broke up their protest against development plans for the northeastern New Territories.
Five activists, including Jaco Chow Nok-hang, Leung Wing-lai and the League of Social Democrats' Napo Wong Weng-chi, said they were attacked in a police van en route from the Legislative Council building in Admiralty to Aberdeen Police Station.
"The police drew the curtain, turned the light off and started beating us about our heads," Chow said yesterday after being released on bail, bruises clearly visible on his forehead and ears. "They put handcuffs on three of us. They slapped and punched us, pulled our hair and even spat on our faces."
The violence stopped when they reached the station, where the activists were taken to a washroom to clean the blood off their faces before reporting to the duty officers, Chow said.
Wong said there about 10 police officers in the van with them. "Some of the police even kicked us," he added.
The five protesters were among 21 people arrested, one of whom was 72 years old.
Labour Party Legislator Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung also condemned the police for "using force" against his assistant, who he said had been handcuffed by officers even after he had introduced himself.
The assistant was also assaulted by several officers inside a police vehicle, Cheung said.
Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung refused to comment on the accusations, but he said all complaints received were investigated impartially.
The Civil Human Rights Front described the alleged violence as "barbaric, illegal and unprofessional". It also urged the government watchdog to send representatives to any future rallies.
Meanwhile, the RTHK Programme Staff Union condemned the police for initially hauling away its TV reporter, Luther Ng Lap-tak, as officers moved in to clear the 100 or so people who were still protesting at the Legco site after midnight.
RTHK and the Hong Kong Journalists Association urged police to apologise over the incident.