German consulate issues second statement in two days over Nazi comparison
Call to ‘study Holocaust before making any reference to it’ comes as local police chiefs scramble to distance force from officer’s remark
The German Consulate in Hong Kong has issued its second statement in two days after a controversial remark by a policeman comparing local officers to Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
“We don’t wish to comment further on reports in the media. We would like to reiterate that we urge everyone to study the history of the Holocaust before making any reference to it,” a bilingual statement posted on the consulate’s Facebook page on Saturday night read.
While it did not single out any particular report, a number of comments under the post referred to HKG Pao, a pro-establishment commentary website founded by Robert Chow Yung, the man behind the anti-Occupy Central campaign.
A recent article on the website slammed four media outlets for running a commentary by a Liberal Studies teacher, who indirectly compared attendees of a mass gathering in support of seven jailed policemen to Nazi soldiers.
In response to HKG Pao’s inquiry, the German consulate wrote, “We are not yet aware of such web media articles, but any comparison between the [Hong Kong Police Force] and Nazi perpetrators of the holocaust is, of course, equally inappropriate.”
On Wednesday, tens of thousands of serving and former officers and their supporters turned up at a mass rally to protest the jailing of seven of their colleagues for assaulting an Occupy activist in 2014.
One of the officers, later identified as a station sergeant from the elite Special Tactical Squad, went on stage to declare that police were being victimised like those who had suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
“It’s like we’re now in the second world war. We are Jews facing the persecution of the Nazis, aren’t we?” he said. The crowd yelled “yes” in response.
The Israeli consulate was the first to respond the following day.
“Without relating to the trial of the seven police officers, the alleged statement at the rally that made a reference to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany is inappropriate and regretful,” it said in a statement.
Fearing the incident could escalate into a diplomatic row, the police force’s management quickly distanced itself from the controversial analogy, saying it did not represent their stance and that the force did not agree with the remarks.
Police morale has plunged to a recent low upon the conviction of seven officers for kicking and punching activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu following his arrest during an Occupy protest more than two years ago.
Tsang himself was sentenced to a five-week jail term for assaulting officers, which he is appealing against.
Each of the seven officers was sentenced to two years in jail. Three of the officers – Wong Cho-shing, Lau Hing-pui and Chan Siu-tan – have already lodged an appeal, according to the Department of Justice.