Hong Kong policeman accused of slapping Occupy activist Ken Tsang kept eyes shut during ID process, court hears
Video footage reveals the constable did not cooperate and that a chief inspector did not force him to
A police officer, who was accused of slapping Occupy activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu on the face in a police interview room during the 2014 pro-democracy protests, did not cooperate during an identification procedure and kept his eyes closed, a court heard on Thursday.
The District Court also heard that another officer, who allegedly witnessed the beating on that occasion, lowered his head and refused to open his eyes during a separate identification procedure.
Video footage of Tsang singling out constable Chan Siu-tan as the suspect who assaulted him during the Occupy movement in a one-on-one identification procedure was played in court on Thursday.
Prosecutors alleged that Tsang was beaten by seven police officers at a substation on Lung Wui Road in Admiralty during a clearance operation on October 15, 2014.
After Tsang was taken to the Central Police Station, Chan, 31, allegedly hit the activist twice on the face when he refused to reveal his phone password. Chan denies one count of common assault.
The court heard on Thursday that, on January 27 last year, Chan – dubbed “the first suspect” – did not willingly take part in the identification.
The video clip played in court showed Chan, accompanied by his lawyer, sitting in the centre of a room, adjacent to another room where Tsang was looking through a one-way window.
Shortly after the procedure began, Tsang was heard asking the chief inspector in charge to ask Chan to open his eyes.
Although the video did not depict clearly whether Chan complied with the request, Tsang’s lawyer Michael Vidler made the same request moments later. Vidler was heard saying that if Chan did not cooperate, the identification procedure would be unfair.
But chief inspector Wesly Tse Tan-sang explained in the video that Chan was forced to go there and the identification lacked Chan’s consent. “If he insists, I cannot order him to open his eyes,” Tse said in the video.
Tsang recognised Chan as the police officer who hit him inside interview room No 7 at the Central Police Station, the footage showed.
Another video clip played in court showed Tsang requesting Kwan Ka-ho, 32, another officer, to look up and open his eyes in another “direct confrontation”. Tsang recognised Kwan in the video.
But the two policemen’s counsels lodged a bid to bar the court from accepting the identification as evidence on the grounds of irregularities.
Counsel Bernard Chung Wai-keung suggested that Tse operated the procedure in favour of Tsang and his legal team, while Kwan’s counsel Priscilia Lam said the identification should have been stopped.
Tse disagreed, saying that Tsang’s lawyers did not influence his decisionmaking. But he conceded to Lam’s suggestion that he forgot to caution Kwan after the formality, which was a required procedure.
Chan and Kwan also deny a joint charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent on Tsang with their co-accused Chief Inspector Wong Cho-shing, 48, Senior Inspector Lau Cheuk-ngai, 29, Detective Sergeant Pak Wing-bun, 42, and constables Lau Hing-pui, 38, and Wong Wai-ho, 36.
The trial continued before judge David Dufton on Thursday.