Google declines Hong Kong police demand to remove assault video of detainee

Police argue that YouTube video of officers assaulting detainee sends a “false message” to viewers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 December, 2015, 1:10pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 December, 2015, 1:42am

Hong Kong made five requests to remove a total of 24 items in the second half of last year, including a YouTube video that showed police assaulting a person under arrest, according to the latest Google report.

Google refused to remove the video, despite a request from the technology crime division of the commercial crime bureau, which claimed that it "disseminates a false message that Hong Kong police assaulted a person under arrest in a police vehicle", the report says.

The title or other details of the video were not disclosed in the internet giant's biannual report. Both Google and the police have been contacted for comment and to confirm whether the video is fictional or a recording of real events.

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Internet users are speculating that the video in question might be one entitled Real Police Story, which is a one-minute-long drama showing a policeman beating up an anti-northeast New Territories development protester in a police van.

The publisher of the video said it was based on the account of a real protester's experiences.

A police spokesman declined to provide more details about the video. He said, however, officers would follow due procedure when it was necessary to require internet operators or websites to provide information to help crime investigation or prevention, or law enforcement.

"The police will also be concerned about whether the information involved is incorrect or seriously misleading," said the spokesman.

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"The police always respect citizens' freedom of expressing opinions, speech and assembly, but the public should also obey Hong Kong's laws and social order when expressing their opinions and demands."

Three of the five requests were made by the government to remove three items, but Google did not remove any of them.

The two other requests, both accompanied with a court order, were more successful, with Google complying to one of the requests.

The report shows Google received a total of 3,523 requests from governments around the world - compared to 1,062 in the same period in 2009 - to remove 26,130 items from July to December last year. Most concerned YouTube videos.