A West African asylum seeker claims he was physically and verbally abused by police after being caught up in an anti-triad swoop while out jogging last month.
Aliou Diallo, from Guinea, was one of 57 people arrested 10 days ago near a soccer pitch at the To Kwa Wan Recreation Ground as police hunted for a senior Pakistani enforcer for the Sun Yee On triad.
Police said that the enforcer's followers were among the 57 men arrested and were on their way to a gang fight in the city after a recent dispute in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Diallo, who has lived in Hong Kong for five years, had been jogging and was picked up by police who took him into custody along with the Pakistanis and Indians at the recreation ground.
He claims he was bound with plastic cord and then kicked in the back by police while trying to find out why he was being arrested.
When he protested to the police in English, he says he was told: 'Speak Chinese. This is Chinese territory.' Diallo said he was then hit again. He spent the next 48 hours at Ho Man Tin Police Station along with the other detainees. All 57 detained were kept in one room and bound for a total of 11 hours, Diallo said. They went without food or water for 24 hours. Diallo also alleged that one young Pakistani was taken from the room and beaten by police.
'It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but this does not excuse how I and the others were treated. It was a terrifying experience,' Diallo, 35, said. 'A few of us were beaten and verbally abused. It should not have happened.'
A police spokesman said that 57 non-ethnic Chinese males aged between 16 and 51 were arrested for affray at To Kwa Wan Recreation Ground in Hung Hom on September 26. All were released on police bail and required to report back in a month. Investigations by the Regional Anti-triad Unit of Kowloon West are under way.
'Police will conduct a fair investigation into every case. Members of the public are entitled to lodge complaints to the Complaints Against Police Office [the force's internal complaint-investigation unit] concerning the conduct of a member of the police force,' he said.
Three other people who were arrested during the raid contacted the South China Morning Post to confirm Diallo's allegations of verbal and physical abuse. They gave only their nicknames for fear of further victimisation.
Two Indians called Lucky and Rome and their Pakistani friend Abi said they had met at the To Kwa Wan Recreation Ground with other friends to celebrate Lucky's 27th birthday. They had planned to meet there before going to a restaurant in Jordan for dinner.
'It's a birthday I won't forget. We got rounded up and spent the next 48 hours in the police station,' Lucky, who is an accountant, said. 'None of us had any criminal record or had ever been in a police station before.'
Lucky claimed that police had planted an iron bar on him while he was handcuffed in To Kwa Wan Recreation Ground. Rome, a social worker, and Abi, a private driver, supported the allegations.
Abi said he had written to the Independent Police Complaints Council about the incident.