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Hong Kong police

Hong Kong police chief says force ‘fully supports’ retired officer jailed for hitting passer-by during Occupy protests

Commissioner’s comments follow unsuccessful appeal bid by former superintendent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 September, 2018, 7:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 September, 2018, 11:32pm

Hong Kong’s police chief says the force will fully help the retired senior officer who was ordered to serve a three-month jail sentence for hitting a passer-by during the Occupy protests in 2014.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung on Saturday described his heart as heavy on learning that a court on Friday quashed an appeal bid by former superintendent Frankly Chu, 58.

“I believe [Chu] is now actively considering launching another appeal,” Lo said on Saturday. “The police force will continue to fully support him and his family during this time.”

A local magistrate jailed Chu for three months in January for striking Osman Cheng Chung-hang, 28, with a baton during a clearance operation in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014, during the pro-democracy Occupy movement.

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At his appeal, Chu argued he was acting in good faith when he struck a man who ignored police instructions.

But Mr Justice Albert Wong Sung-hau rejected that claim and said Chu was unjustified in using any force at all. Wong said Chu “had set a very bad example to his subordinates”.

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Lo believed it was “inevitable” that the spirits of police officers might fluctuate when faced with challenges or difficulties.

“But we’ll definitely do our best once we put our uniforms on to serve the public.”

Speaking after a course completion parade at the Hong Kong Police College in Wong Chuk Hang, Lo said the force had already improved training for its officers since the incident and that efforts to enhance communication with the public over the past few years had paid off.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, who addressed the 45 probationary inspectors and 230 recruit constables on Saturday, urged the graduates not to be easily discouraged.

“In recent years, the work of police officers might not be recognised. Others might even criticise or misunderstand officers even though they’ve tried their best to serve the public and maintain social order,” Chan said. He called on the graduates not to be frustrated by what he called “unfair criticism”.

Separately, Lo, who last week saw his term extended for another year, said the decision had been made to ensure a smooth transition of power within the force.