Torture used in frame-up, officer claims

A POLICE constable claimed in court yesterday he was tortured and assaulted by fellow officers who framed him for taking a $200,000 bribe.

Hau Wing-sum, 26, said the police used 'dirty tricks' which had shattered his confidence in the force.

He said a senior inspector and two constables tortured him by wrapping a towel around his face so he could not breathe and then winded him by hitting him in the stomach.

Senior Inspector Chan Tsan-wing also slapped him and threatened to use marked banknotes to fabricate evidence, it was alleged.

Hau said he finally agreed to sign written statements which he had not made because he 'could not stand it any more'.

But Hau told the jury he did not use his normal signature when he signed the statements, to signify they had not been made voluntarily.

Hau has pleaded not guilty to stealing a quantity of heroin from Sheung Shui Police Station on September 29, 1993.

He also denies accepting a $200,000 bribe in return for destroying the drugs and taking other bribes from trafficker Chu Kam-to, 44.

The prosecution alleged Hau got rid of the drugs, which were to be an exhibit at Chu's trial, by flushing them down a toilet.

As a result the trafficker was freed, the High Court heard.

But Hau denied stealing the drugs, or taking bribes from Chu.

He said his only dealings with Chu had been to try to get information from him about major drug deals to further his career.

The court heard Hau was arrested when Chu led him into a trap by luring him to the Copenhagen Hotel in Mongkok on August 27 last year.

Hau claimed police officers then took him into a bathroom at the hotel where the towel was tied round his face and he was assaulted.

He was later interrogated by Senior Inspector Chan at Police Headquarters in Tai Po, he said.

The senior inspector allegedly told Hau that he was going to write a statement 'then I should sign and confess otherwise I would have a lot to suffer', Hau said.

The constable said he went 'mad' when the senior inspector threatened that his family would also be interfered with.

Senior Inspector Chan had been specifically assigned to take the statement, the court heard. 'If I did not sign it, he would have to shoulder the blame,' Hau said.

'I told him I did not do it, so how on Earth could I sign a statement?' The constable said the senior inspector then produced a bag of marked banknotes which he said would be taken as money paid to Hau by Chu.

'They said even if I engaged a Queen's Counsel to defend me I would not be acquitted,' Hau told the jury.

The officer said he was forced to sign three false statements against his will. He made a complaint about his treatment to his lawyer at the first opportunity, when he appeared at Fanling Court, he added.

Senior Inspector Chan, who gave evidence earlier in the trial, denied he had assaulted or threatened Hau.

The trial before Deputy Judge Burrell continues today.