Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong tells court police forced him into car and handcuffed him without warning
Poster boy for the city’s Occupy movement lodges claim for damages over his detention ahead of July 1 rally last year
Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung was “dragged” into a police car and handcuffed without warning last year during a protest ahead of the city’s annual anti-government rally on July 1, a court heard on Thursday.
On the morning of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, the poster boy for the 2014 Occupy protests was supposed to march to a flag ceremony in Wan Chai, near where President Xi Jinping would deliver a speech.
But Wong told the Small Claims Tribunal on Thursday that officers forcefully removed him, claiming they wanted to protect him from a group of unruly pro-Beijing protesters, who outnumbered Wong and his comrades at the time.
“I was dragged and yanked into a police car by officers using violent force,” he said.
Wong said he was handcuffed without being arrested, and was not given a warning – a move even a superintendent, who testified after Wong, said was “rare”.
Wong lodged a HK$45,000 (US$5,700) claim against Hong Kong’s secretary for justice over the force’s alleged actions. He said handcuffing amounted to assault and unlawful detention.
The court heard that at about 7am that day, about 100 people began to clash with the 30-odd members in Wong’s group. The larger group surrounded the activist and his fellow protesters.
Wong said six police officers then headed his way, soon before they moved him with force, despite not giving him a warning.
After they took him into a police car, they then handcuffed him – again – without telling him they would do so.
Senior law clerk Esther Kwan Sin-heung, for the secretary for justice, said police had used the minimum force permitted by the law to protect Wong and others and to restore order. She urged deputy adjudicator Simon Ho to rule against the activist. She also asked Wong to pay HK$8,062 in legal costs to the government.
Ho will hand down his decision on July 4.