Police denied yesterday there had been violence between officers and a teenager at a New Year's Eve celebration in Tsim Sha Tsui, despite new television footage showing what appears to be a scuffle. But the explanation from the force - which said the youth wished one of the policemen involved a happy new year - was dismissed by a lawmaker as an 'insult to the intelligence' of the public. TVB footage released yesterday, showing two officers apparently exchanging shoves and blows with the teenager, has deepened the controversy. The tape appears to show one officer striking the youth and then another apparently slapping the boy twice, causing him to fall backwards. At one point the youngster, apparently enraged, seemed to twice slap the officer in the face. But Kowloon West Deputy Regional Commander Henrique Koo Sii-hong said yesterday that neither the officers nor the boy used violence. 'What you think you saw on the television did not happen,' he said. Chief Superintendent Koo said he was on the scene when the alleged incident took place shortly after the countdown to 2002 outside the Cultural Centre. Mr Koo said that while TV footage showed what appeared to be slapping by officers, the policemen actually were preventing the boy from picking up fluorescent sticks to throw. Mr Koo also said the youth did not slap an officer. 'By that time, the guy had calmed down. He double-tapped the officer's face and said, 'Okay, okay, happy new year', and he happily went away. 'If that guy had assaulted or slapped my officer, I can assure you he would have been arrested on that very night.' Mr Koo said the force was convinced the 30-second incident was 'very, very minor' and that the officers had shown 'restraint and tolerance'. As no complaint had been filed against officers for using excessive force, there would be no formal investigation, he said. Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun said: 'The police are trying to force the public to believe something they cannot believe by their eyes. What the force said makes people think they are silly. It's an insult to the intelligence of people.' Director of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, Law Yuk-kai, said the public deserved to find out the truth about the incident because the police had provided a one-sided version of what happened. 'What [Mr Koo] said may well be all true, but they could not draw a conclusion right away,' Mr Law said. 'He's one witness, but he's not the judge.' A spokeswoman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said 3,200 flowerpots placed outside the Cultural Centre had been damaged by the New Year's Eve crowd. About 2,000 would have to be replaced.