Hong Kong Police Officers Arrested for Torturing Elderly Man

By Jeremy Sandberg

HONG KONG—Two of the city’s police officers have been arrested after being caught on security camera torturing and beating a 62-year-old man.

Only identified by his last name Chung, the elderly man was accused of assaulting a police officer while drunk and was sent to a psychiatric ward at a local hospital after an altercation on June 26.

Captured on surveillance camera, the footage shows that while Chung was restrained on a hospital bed, two police officers punched Chung’s abdomen and genitals, slapped his face, covered his eyes and nose with his shirt to restrict his breathing, pushed his eyes with their fingers, and beat him with their batons. The assault went on for 20 minutes.

The footage was revealed by local lawmaker Lam Cheuk-Ting, of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, at a press conference on Aug. 20. The officers were arrested later that day.

At another press conference convened on Wednesday, Lam said that in recent months, there has been a large number of complaints from anti-extradition-bill protesters regarding torture and assault by police officers. For months, Hongkongers have taken to the streets to oppose an extradition bill that would allow the Chinese regime to transfer individuals for trial in mainland China, where there is no rule of law.

“It is an extremely horrific case in Hong Kong, and I’m afraid it is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Lam. “It is a very crucial case to prove the brutality of the police force.”

He further called for a full investigation into the incident, adding that extradition bill protesters have recently broadened their demands to include an independent inquiry into police use of force during previous demonstrations—precisely because they believe the police force is abusing their power.

Police have fired tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, and other crowd control equipment at protesters in recent weeks. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as international and local rights groups, have condemned the Hong Kong police for using such equipment in ways that violate international norms, such as by shooting them at close range.

“Hong Kong people will try our very best to fight for democracy peacefully, but in the face of Beijing’s dictatorship regime some of the youngsters have to sacrifice themselves so much,” said Lam.

He urged citizens to come forward if they have been subjected to any form of police brutality.