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July 1 march

Hong Kong protesters claim they were assaulted by police at annual July 1 march

Chairman of the League of Social Democrats Avery Ng among those who claim they were dragged into police vehicles and attacked by officers without being formally arrested

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 3:51pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 11:38pm

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have accused police of breaching their human rights, claiming they were taken away in handcuffs without being accused of any crimes, and assaulted, ahead of an annual protest on Saturday morning.

Chairman of the League of Social Democrats Avery Ng also claimed he was physically assaulted and sworn at repeatedly by a police inspector after being dragged into a police vehicle.

A photograph, seen by the Post, taken by online news outlet HK01, seemed to show Ng being held forcibly against the window inside the vehicle.

Another protester, Figo Chan Ho-wun, who claimed to have been elbowed by the same inspector, was barred from using his phone, as police attempted to snatch it from him.

The accusations came after the pair and some 20 fellow protesters, including student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, said they had not been formally arrested or charged with any crimes.

“I cannot comprehend this incident at all,” said Wong, who was removed from the protest in a struggle.

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The group of protesters, consisting of Ng’s LSD and Wong’s Demosisto, gathered in Wan Chai on Saturday morning for their annual march to the July 1 flag-raising ceremony, where they wanted to call for the release of dissident Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

But the annual march was forced to be abandoned for the first time in years, when they were outnumbered by about one hundred pro-Beijing supporters, whom they said attacked them and their protest props.

If they purely want to take us away from the scene, why did they have to escort us like suspects
Joshua Wong, Demosisto

Speaking after they were released by the police, they said they had not been informed about the police’s plan when they were dragged into police vehicles. They said they were told subsequently by the police that they were affecting public order and hence had to be removed for their own safety.

But Wong said: “If they purely want to take us away from the scene, why did they have to escort us like suspects into a police car and handcuff us?”

Ng claimed an inspector assaulted his private parts twice and swore at him as soon as the police vehicle’s door was closed. He said he was told once in the vehicle that he was arrested, but was informed that was not the case at the police station.

Chan claimed he dared not move when officers elbowed him in the ribs, fearing that they would then accuse him of assault. He said he refused to allow officers to snatch his phone.

All protesters were later released, including veteran lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung.

Ng showed at least two bruises on his back and some more on his wrists, while Chan suffered a bruise on his rib.

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The group also accused the police of failing to protect them when they were attacked by whom they called “patriotic thugs with triad backgrounds”.

Likening them to police, Ng said: “Their goal is very simple: to suppress any opposite [voices], in the name of anti-terrorism, in the name of anti-independence.”

“But the truth is they are anti-human rights,” he said. The activist also claim he and others had been followed over the past 72 hours.

Ng and Chan were expected to lodge complaints to the Complaints Against Police Office.

Lawmaker Leung warned police not to pre-empt their complaints by suddenly charging the pair.

Police said in a statement on Saturday night that the scene was chaotic after officers arrested three men said to have assaulted the protesters. In order to ensure the protesters’ safety, the force explained, they were taken into a police vehicle and carried away.

“Some of them [the protesters] appeared to be emotional,” the statement read. “In order to protect themselves and others from being injured, officers handcuffed them and brought them to Wan Chai police station. The handcuffs were unlocked and the concerned people were allowed to leave after they became calm.”