Don’t compare police troubles with persecuted Jews, Israeli consulate urges
Embassy expresses regret over speaker’s comment at mass gathering of officers; force spokesman says remarks do not represent organisation
In a latest twist to the row over the jailing of seven policemen for assaulting an Occupy activist, the Israeli consulate has weighed in to rebuke a comparison of the tribulations of officers with the persecution of Jews.
The analogy was made by a speaker at the force’s mass gathering on Wednesday, where 33,000 serving and retired officers and their relatives came together to show support for the seven.
Officers took turns taking the stage to address the crowd. One speaker was filmed comparing insults officers had received with the Nazi persecution of Jews during the second world war.
Watch: More than 30,000 gather to support jailed policemen
A video recorded by Chinese-language news outlet Apple Daily captured the speaker addressing the crowd, saying: “It’s like we’re now in the second world war. We are Jews facing the persecution of the Nazis, aren’t we?”
The crowd then shouted “yes” in response.
A statement by the Israeli consulate said: “Without relating to the trial of the seven police officers, the alleged statement at the rally that made a reference to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany is inappropriate and regretful.
We wish no further comparison will be made to the Jewish Holocaust.”
In response, Joe Chan Cho-kwong, chairman of the Junior Police Officers’ Association – which was the organiser of the event – said: “The association expresses regret if any participant in Wednesday’s gathering expressed views that offended anyone, any community, or any country.”
A police spokesman said the speech did not represent the force’s position and that the force did not agree with the remarks.
Watch: Hong Kong policemen found guilty in Occupy activist case
The seven policemen were sentenced to two years’ jail after being convicted of kicking and punching activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu following his arrest for assaulting officers during an Occupy protest more than two years ago.
Three of the officers – Wong Cho-shing, Lau Hing-pui and Chan Siu-tan – have already lodged an appeal, according to the Department of Justice.
Joe Chan said his association had appealed to colleagues to raise money to help the families of the seven officers. The donations would not exceed 3 per cent of the monthly salaries of officers, according to the association.
Chan also said his association and three other staff associations of the force would send a joint letter to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as early as Friday to raise their concerns and call for legislation to ban insulting acts against public officers on duty.
Pro-establishment lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business and Professionals Alliance also said she was mulling amending laws to criminalise abuse of officers.
But Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting warned it would only worsen relations between the police and the public.
Leung’s party, meanwhile, said it had raised about HK$5 million to support the seven officers’ families.