• jeremiahbull

Hong Kong Police have no credibility

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

The Hong Kong Police Force, the Chief Executive and the Chinese Communist Party have all brought havoc to HK, despite their stated desire for stability!

The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) are acting against the interests of the majority of Hong Kong (HK) citizens, against principles of civil liberties and human rights. They have directly contributed to the undermining of the Joint Declaration. While they still try to present themselves as righteous and reasonable to the outside world, the truth is it's all whitewash and that the HKPF have well and truly strayed from the path of goodness.

Though they used to be considered "Asia's finest", their approval rating in HK has plummeted. An October 2019 survey from the Chinese University of HK found 51 per cent of the population had zero trust in the police, up from 6.5 per cent before the protests erupted in June.

Where have they strayed from the path of righteousness and servitude, and why?

HK has its own Security Bureau responsible for security-related policies and practices, from the maintenance of law and order, exercising immigration and customs control, rehabilitating offenders and drug abusers, and providing emergency fire and rescue services. It operates disciplined forces including the HKPF, the Fire Services Department, the Correctional Services Department, the Immigration Department, the Customs and Excise Department and the Government Flying Service. According to the Security Bureau government website all of these professional bodies are supposedly committed to serving the public in a disciplined, dedicated and efficient manner.


The problem is there is no formal link, no legal requirement or system of accountability between “civil servants” who work in these government departments and the public they are meant to serve. The Police and Immigration departments, for instance, have discretionary powers, but it’s not clear who they serve. It’s unclear whether they exercise that discretionary power in favour of the government, their own department, or the people of HK, the CCP or anyone else.

In HK the Police Force Ordinance does not mention the police’s duty to the public. In Part IV of that Ordinance, nothing mentions how the police must listen to the public, or what our rights are in determining police conduct. It is the taxpayers of HK who fund the HKPF so we rightfully expect good service for our money.

The Police in more advanced democratic jurisdictions these days are governed by regulations and committees that put the service users - you and me - at the head of the organisation. We set the policy and practices, the tone of the organisation, and administrative law allows officials to listen to us and adopt changes that we the people recommend.

Going hand in hand with the problem of accountability in HK's government institutions, is a total lack of transparency and openness. Much of the work of The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), The Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO, Chinese: 投訴警察課) and the Immigration Department is cloaked in confidentiality or secrecy and sheltered from direct public control and scrutiny.

Police antagonise the public

Those in authority within the HKPF, and those exercising power over them seem to have no knowledge of basic human psychology. They seem unable to pacify anger when it presents itself, unable to drawback from confrontation, and unable to present the unadulterated truth - especially when it's embarrassing or uncomfortable for them to do so.

Apart from protesting against the Extradition Bill [more formally named The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment)], and against the government for its lack of response to the protesters' five demands, a good number of marches and rallies have specifically been in response to police action (or inaction).

It is notable that, when Senior lawyer Anthony Neoh SC, who heads the IPCC spoke to media in August 2019 he said HK should not rely on the Police alone to restore calm to the city as the current impasse requires a political solution that should start with the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill that sparked the crisis.

However, for the Chief Executive (CE) Carrie Lam, propped up and coerced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) a political solution has so far been out of the question!

Faced with more weeks of civil unrest, the Police have not only become more aggressive on the ground, they have also been talking tougher and with more confidence, sending out the message that morale remains high and they have the stamina, commitment and resources to handle whatever the protesters throw at them. Without any legal basis for their behaviour, they have toyed with the people of the city, spreading 'white terror' and sewing contempt for the force as a whole (see our blog on the HKPF and white terror spread in hospitals).

Public anger at the behaviour of the Police, and the impunity they are seen to enjoy, has grown since the unrest began. Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) interviewed 1,062 HK people by phone between November 21 and 26, 2019. The HKPF received the lowest satisfaction rating among all HK's disciplinary forces. According to the survey results, the Police received 35.3 marks out of 100, with 40 per cent of the respondents giving zero marks. There has been calls from protesters to disband the HKPF.

“No one follows the rules and guidelines any more,” said a frontline Police officer aged in his twenties who asked not to be identified. “When my colleagues break the law, they never admit it and our superiors provide cover for them.”

Police also have been accused of going undercover and disguising themselves as protesters, which many saw as an attempt to sow suspicion and distrust within the mostly leaderless movement, where demonstrators carefully guard their anonymity. In what is considered a 'dirty' or dishonest Police tactic, undercover officers have been seen to instigate violence and then shift blame to protesters either as a form of entrapment, or as justification for cancelling the legal consent given for a protest. Such a move curtails freedom of association, freedom of speech, and freedom of movement. Some undercover officers also use their anonymity to exact violence on protesters.

Michael Tien, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, told the Washington Post, “The focus since the beginning of July 2019 has completely shifted now to the confrontation between police and rioters, and how the public perceives it. The public is totally polarized, but it is no longer about the extradition bill.”

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called out HKPF for their use of disproportionate force, particularly over the constant use of tear gas to disperse crowds blocking roads or unruly mobs attacking their lines. “[Police] Officials can be seen firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters on multiple occasions, creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury,” she complained in a statement.

As protests continued in 2019, and the impasse between protesters and the HK government firmed up, it became even clearer to many people that a political solution was needed.

Multiple sources from Beijing and the HK government admitted that, to a certain extent, the Police force as a whole was even more important than the Chief Executive (CE) in the eyes of CCP’s leaders. It is not explicitly stated what the HKPF are so 'important' for. However, the only response going forward was to hunker down for more Police violence. The HKPF have become a tool of repression, and together with 'rule by law' and a cooperating judiciary, HK started to operate like a Police state.

The following are five cases in point, in which the HKPF seriously damaged their reputation in the public eye:

1. 12 June, 2019 Admiralty

On June 12, hundreds of Police clashed with tens of thousands of protesters outside the Central Government Offices in Admiralty. The protesters who started gathering as early as 7.00am had been demanding the withdrawal of amendment to the extradition bill, which would have allowed people to be sent to the mainland. In the aftermath of the protests that saw Police fire rubber bullets and tear-gas at the crowd, five individuals were arrested on charges of inciting a riot. It has to be noted that in HK under the Public Order Ordinance (POO) the outdated charge of "rioting" is very serious and carries with it the possibility of up to 10 years imprisonment.

Amnesty International prepared a report based on its observation of events that day, and they wrote: "Our team verified incidents of the dangerous use of rubber bullets, officers beating protesters who did not resist, aggressive tactics used by police to obstruct journalists on site and the misuse of tear gas and pepper spray. All of the examples Amnesty International verified are violations of international law and standards on the use of force by law enforcement officials. The verified footage draws upon media coverage and as well as footage posted on social media."

In the report on HK protests prepared by retired HK Police Officer Martin Purbick, he said: The Police use of force against the entire protest crowd of several tens of thousands, and not just the few hundred violent protesters who had instigated the violence, shocked many people in HK. What seemed to be indiscriminate use of force by the Police against both violent as well as peaceful protesters, and journalists resulted in wide local and international criticism.

This gave rise to other protests, such as one on 27 June, 2019. Hundreds of protesters surrounded the headquarters for HK’s Department of Justice, demanding that riot charges laid against five people who took part in the June 12 protests be withdrawn. Roads around the building were also occupied.

The day after this protest, a letter was written to China as a Member of the UN, outlining serious allegations of excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators and human rights defenders, as well as alleged arbitrary arrest of individuals participating in peaceful demonstrations in HK. The Chinese government was addressed by four UN officials: Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Chinese government was given 60 days in which to reply to the allegations pursuant to UN Human Rights Council resolutions 34/18, 32/32, 34/5 and 34/19. They never replied, so the letter was made public by the end of August, 2019.

2. 14 July, 2019 New Town Plaza, Sha Tin

Amidst protests that escalated almost every weekend, there was a march in Sha Tin, New Territories that resulted in chaotic scenes between Police and protesters, back and forth like a cat and mouse game. However, on this occasion protesters trying to leave the street, or make their way to the MTR station via a shopping mall were soon engaged in direct conflict with armed Police in pursuit.

Many innocent shoppers, and even young children, were witness to the running battles. Sometimes an isolated Police officer would be attacked by retaliating protesters, or groups of Police would grab and physically attack a protester.

Making the melee worse was the shut down of the MTR adjoining the mall, and the Police tactic of blocking the entrances and exits of the shopping centre. Many people were irate that the HKPF would pursue protesters inside a busy shopping mall, leading to further antipathy towards the the Police force.

3. 21-22 July, 2019 Yuen Long MTR incident

In Yuen Long, New Territories, a gang of at least one hundred white clad thugs attacked protesters returning home as well as ordinary train passengers who were never involved in any protests. At around 10.30pm in the Yuen Long MTR (train) station, gang members attacked people with rattan canes and clubs, reportedly used to represent the punishment of wayward children.

Although hundreds of emergency calls were made to the Police, no officers arrived until 39 minutes after the first calls were made. Two uniform Police officers left the MTR station during the attacks and did not intervene.

Police officers arrived at 11.15pm after the attackers had left the MTR station. The Police questioned men dressed in white at the entrances to several local villages but did not make arrests. Incredibly, the attackers returned at around midnight, forced open the MTR station shutters, and started a second wave of attacks on passengers. The Yuen Long attack, believed to have been conducted by local villagers and gangs of triad (criminal secret society) members, shocked HK and led to a widespread belief that the Police were in collusion with triads. This event turned a substantial number of the passive HK population against the Police, and many people started to label the Police as “haak ging” (黑警), or “black police”.

(This information from the retired Police Officer's report on the HK protests)

A week before this attack occurred, Li Jiyi, the director of the Central Government Liaison’s local district office attended a community banquet for hundreds of villagers in HK’s rural New Territories. He addressed the 11 July gathering about the escalating protests in HK and appealed to the assembled residents to protect their towns in Yuen Long district and to chase anti-government activists away. Repeatedly, Li spoke of the need for harmony and unity between the traditional villages and the government, “especially when there is wind and rain in Hong Kong”.

Ching Chan-ming, the head of the Shap Pat Heung rural committee which hosted the banquet that night, said he thought Li’s speech was positive and held no malicious intent. Others, however, took Li's comments as an incitement.

Johnny Mak, a veteran Democratic Alliance district councillor in Yuen Long who witnessed the train station bloodshed, said he believed Li’s remarks had been an explicit call to arms against protesters.

In the days and weeks after the incident HK's Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung expressed publicly the government's apology for the failure of Police to respond in a timely manner to the attack. However, this drew an acrimonious response from the HKPF who hadn't been informed about the apology, and who insisted that no apology was necessary. The HK Police Inspectors’ Association issued a letter to Cheung saying that officers were caught between the government and protesters, and Cheung’s remarks had shattered officers’ belief in their duty. "Your words," they wrote, "have completely written off our efforts in maintaining law and order over the past few months, and written off our sacrifices, too. You have completely disappointed us.”

Many officers felt they were unfairly being made to bear the brunt of public anger and protest violence over a political problem that the government should have been solving. Adding to Police’s woes, sources at the ICAC revealed at the end of July 2019 that HK’s anti-graft watchdog had initiated an investigation into allegations of Police misconduct over the Yuen Long incident.

Opposition lawmaker and former ICAC investigator Lam Cheuk-ting, a vocal critic of Police action against protesters, said there was enough proof to suggest that law enforcers in Yuen Long had neglected their duty and deliberately allowed the attackers to go on a rampage.“I believe there is strong evidence to question whether the Police in charge of Yuen Long District, especially the commander, had committed wilful dereliction of duty … that constitutes the offence of misconduct in public office,” he said. “For such a serious accusation, the ICAC has the appropriate power and a role to conduct an investigation.”

By the end of January 2020 there were complaints that the HKPF were tardy in their investigations: Key witnesses to the Yuen Long MTR station attack indicated that they had not yet been interviewed by law enforcement agencies or asked to turn over security camera footage, six months after one of the most shocking outbreaks of violence during the ongoing HK protests.

Just 37 people – some with links to triads – have been arrested for their roles in the attack, seven of whom have been charged with rioting, and police have said they were continuing to collect new evidence.

4. 31 August, 2019 Prince Edward MTR debacle

The 31 August Prince Edward station incident, simply referred to as 831 by many protesters in HK, refers to what happened when HK police allegedly indiscriminately attacked MTR passengers whilst they were attempting to round up and arrest protesters who were returning home after a day of protest action. The event has been described as the Police version of the 2019 Yuen Long attack, and the Police have been criticised as acting like terrorists.

Please watch the documentary footage and judge for yourself. I can only provide a small glimpse of the incident here that would easily provide enough material for a feature length documentary - should a Michael Moore type filmmaker choose this topic. Seeing how people crouching on the floor, in submission, and bearing no arms or weapons were attacked by several officers, is one of those moments that will forever be burnt into my memory, something akin to seeing the 9/11 World Trade Centre twin towers fall.

Adding salt to the injury is the litany of Police excuses and irrational defence in the media briefings that followed the incident.

“We disagree with the allegations that police officers entered the MTR stations to beat people up,” a police spokeswoman said, flatly rejecting accusations that they had behaved like “gangsters” and assaulted commuters indiscriminately. “The officers used their professional experience to distinguish protesters who had changed clothes from ordinary commuters.” However, she later acknowledged it was difficult to differentiate protesters from ordinary citizens or reporters at the scene, and said officers had used force and pepper spray to arrest protesters after being attacked with umbrellas.

Some very graphic video footage of the attacks did make it to social media, but the MTR has refused to make public the CCTV footage of the event. A court order has been put in place to prevent it being destroyed. For months now rumours have circulated that several protesters were beaten to death at the station, but the Police have rejected the allegations.

On 18 March, 2020 the High Court ordered the MTR Corporation to hand over CCTV footage from Prince Edward and Lai Chi Kok Stations to a student who is seeking damages in court from the police for alleged assault. However, the plaintiff will not be allowed to disclose the footage to the public. Many people feel the truth is being hidden, that the MTR are colluding with the government, and that the public are being denied justice.

5. 31 October, 2019 Arrests in Tuen Mun

More than 70 people were arrested by HKPF in Tuen Mun on Wednesday night following on from a protest and clashes outside the nearby Tai Hing Police operational base two days earlier. Local residents had gathered spontaneously to protest their strong objection to an irritating tear gas smell emanating from the nearby Police base that was wafting into their housing estate. In making the arrests, officers were seen forcefully entering private spaces including residential buildings, a shopping centre and a restaurant. Authorities have failed to offer any explanation for the air-borne irritant.

Political Persecution

It might be true that the HKPF are stuck between a rock and a hard place! On the one hand they are serving the HK government (and the CCP) who stubbornly refuses to negotiate, compromise or accede in any substantive way to the remaining demands of the protesters.

We note the calls from the CCP and the HK and Macau Affairs Office, made several times, for more serious crackdowns on protesters to end the protests. This follows a very simplistic belief that more violence will end violence. The HKPF (possibly aided by officers from across the border) have shown they are more than capable of instilling fear in HK citizens and of brutalising a fair percentage of the population in the process.

On the other hand they are tools of the Security Bureau and Department of Justice, sent out to enforce laws such as the Public Order Ordinance (POO), and carry out timely arrests of activists (see our blog about how the law is being used as a weapon against human rights defenders).

For example, the HKPF first grant organisers permission for a march or rally. Then, when masses have assembled, they suddenly cancel their approval and order peaceful protesters to leave. As has happened on more than one occasion exits are blocked or Public Transport has been shut down. The HKPF have ceremoniously carried out mass arrests for 'unlawful assembly', pepper-sprayed, tear gassed and beaten the living daylights out of anyone and everyone they could - regardless of ongoing protests and complaints about their behaviour!

On 27 March, 2020 HK police arrested Cheng Lai-king, the pan-democrat chairwoman of Central and Western District Council, on suspicion of "seditious intention" under existing colonial-era laws. That legal charge applied under British colonial rule to anyone who incited disaffection against "the person of His Majesty, or His Heirs or Successors, or against the government of this colony." This arrest was widely considered to serve two purposes. Firstly, to see whether the old law could be used to stop anti-government activism. Secondly, to spread fear in HK, that even if the proposed Article 23 legislation is passed over by lawmakers due to rising public discontent, the HKPF and Department of Justice could still use this archaic legal power to press charges against protesters.

Cheng was held for more than 10 hours and then released without charge, although Police said an investigation is still ongoing. Since no charge was laid at the time, we are left wondering whether the Police and/or Department of Justice had homework on this, or whether their intention was merely 'sabre-rattling'?

The offence of seditious intention, which carries a fine of HK$5,000 (US$645) and a jail term of up to two years, was outdated and unconstitutional, Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui said. He condemned the arrest as an abuse of Police power and lacking any legal basis.

The arrest of Cheng was the third such arrest of a District Council Chairperson since the November 2019 District Council elections.

Let's consider some other specific cases of political persecution:

7 August, 2019

Nine weeks into the protests in 2019, a group of lawyers gathered outside the Court of Final Appeal and marched silently to the Department of Justice to protest against what they considered political persecution. The group, which organiser and legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang said involved 3,000 people at its peak, also called on the government to formally withdraw the now-abandoned extradition bill, and launch an independent inquiry into the whole political crisis. Charges of 'rioting' made against peaceful protesters by the Police are seen to be a form of persecution.

21 August, 2019

Activist Joshua Wong and two other activists were ordered to serve prison time for their part in Umbrella Movement protests back in 2014 that saw months-long demonstrations and street blockades calling for democratic reforms. The three were originally given non-custodial sentences, but prosecutors acting on behalf of the government had appealed their sentencing and sought a tougher punishment to act as a deterrent to other activists. That the processes of justice took 5 years to get to this point mean that many, many protesters are going to have the threat of Police charges hanging over them for years and be caught up in the HK courts for still more years!

1st September, 2019

A total of seven activists were arrested by police in connection with past protest-related acitivity. Activist Joshua Wong, who led the city's massive pro-democracy protests in 2014, and former Legislative Council candidate Agnes Chow were arrested on Friday and Andy Chan, the leader of a banned pro-independence party, was detained by police on Thursday. This came immediately before a scheduled mass weekend rally was to take place, and lead to organisers cancelling the event after they failed to secure authorisation from the police. "Our first principle is always to protect all the participants and make sure that no one bears legal consequences because of participating in the protest that we organised," said Bonnie Leung, vice convener of organizing group Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF).

Chow described the arrests as a scare tactic, telling reporters, "We can see very clearly that the [CCP] regime and the HK government is trying to create a White Terror to try to scare HK people to not participate in the social and democratic movement of the future."

1 October, 2019

According to Police documents seen by news agency Reuters, the HKPF loosened guidelines on the use of force officers could use in the run-up to demonstrations planned for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The revised Police procedures manual gave officers more discretionary power to deal with protesters in difficult situations. A specific line that said “officers will be accountable for their own actions”, was removed and replacement wording said that “officers on the ground should exercise their own discretion to determine what level of force is justified in a given situation”. This was a significant change that shifted responsibility for the use of force from individual officers, to the Police authority as a whole.

On 1 October, officers deployed a record level of force and firearms, including firing about 1,400 rounds of tear gas, 900 rubber bullets and six live rounds. More than 100 people were wounded in the ensuing turmoil, as anti-government demonstrators took to the streets across the SAR in multiple locations, throwing petrol bombs and attacking Police. For the first time in this wave of protests, a demonstrator was shot by live fire.

14 October, 2019

Lawmakers in Brussels attending the European People's Party (EPP) Political Assembly adopted a resolution opposing political persecution in HK. They said: "Given the risks of escalating violence [in HK], the EPP calls on all parties involved to exercise restraint and work together to find a peaceful solution to the current impasse. The Chinese state authorities, in particular, have a responsibility to ensure that the basic human freedoms of assembly, expression and association are protected as stipulated in the Sino-British [Joint] Declaration and the HK Basic Law. Peaceful protesters should never suffer violence or political persecution at the hands of police, security forces or criminal gangs. At stake is the safety and livelihood of potentially millions of people."

13 January, 2020

Pro-democracy lawmakers Ray Chan, Chu Hoi-dick, Lam Cheuk-ting, Kwok-ka-ki and Leung Yiu-chung, and former lawmakers Au Nok-hin and Gary Fan appeared in Eastern Court today, accused of violating article 19 of the HK Legislative Council (LegCo)Powers and Privileges Ordinance. According to reports, the seven current and former legislators being prosecuted over extradition bill-related chaos in LegCo last May [2019] said they were ready to face the government's "political persecution" as they know they have the public's backing.

In May, the two rival camps in Legco had attempted to hold their own separate meetings of a bills committee set up to vet the ill-fated extradition bill. Scuffles broke out and several legislators, mostly on the pro-establishment side, reported injuries. The seven pan-dems are accused of assaulting, obstructing or molesting three councillors of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong political party (Chinese: 民主建港協進聯盟; abbreviated DAB); Elizabeth Quat, Holden Chow and Ben Chan.

Speaking before the court hearing, Kwok said he and the other six would be pleading not guilty. "We will be happy to face this kind of political prosecution and we won't be backing down. We will be brave enough, with all the people of HK, to say no to all these accusations," the Civic Party lawmaker said.

28 February, 2020

HK police arrested two pro-democracy politicians and Jimmy Lai, a vocal critic of CCP who owns a prominent media group. Lai, a publishing tycoon known for his anti-Beijing activism, was arrested for his role during the anti-government protests that swept Hong Kong last year. The police also accused him of intimidating a reporter for a competing newspaper in 2017. The two pro-democracy former lawmakers, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum, were also arrested on suspicion of illegal assembly relating to a protest on August 31, 2019.

Andrew Wan, a pro-democracy lawmaker, said: “The three were not even organizers, this is clearly political persecution.”

1 April, 2020

Under emergency regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the CE enacted various rules to restrict social gatherings. A new regulation stipulated that people could not gather in groups of more than four people. The rule did not seem to apply to the HKPF themselves, however, who were seen in large groups ascending on restaurants to check compliance with new emergency rules that meant dining tables had to be spaced apart more than usual.

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho said officers requested Cafe Seasons in Central, which is operated by a son of pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chi-ying, to close its doors on Monday, to check the ID of its customers. “Such acts by Police are an intimidation of pro-democracy businesses under the pretext of epidemic prevention,” Tam said.

There have also been reports on social media of 'Yellow circle' eateries that have supported the HK Democracy movement being visited repeatedly by Police under the guise of 'inspections'. It seemed like harassment and selective enforcement to many commenting on the Police action.

On the evening of 1 April dozens of people gathered around the Prince Edward MTR station to mark seven months since the HKPF storming of the underground rail station. Many laid flowers at a makeshift memorial outside one of the train station exits. Police moved in, pushed people together and then accused them of breaking the emergency social gathering rule. In all there were 54 arrests that night. A further 75 people were searched on the spot, and had their personal details recorded by officers.

The human rights group Civil Rights Observer said the police had abused a new law barring public gatherings of more than four people, aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. The group said officers had claimed that people unconnected to one another were actually part of one group. In a social media post, the rights group said the law cannot be used to strip people of their rights to hold peaceful demonstrations and to express themselves.

Botched Court Proceedings

NO CONSENT (22 October, 2019)

For the second time in a week, HK prosecutors were forced to withdraw charges against defendants arrested over anti-government protests because of what they called a “procedural error”. Louis Lo Yat-sun, who had been detained for more than three months on explosives possession, had his charges dropped on Tuesday after it was revealed that police did not receive prior consent for his prosecution from the secretary for justice.

Lo, a 28-year-old member of the pro-independence HK National Front, remains charged with one count of possession of an explosive substance at West Kowloon Court, after prosecutors applied to continue the prosecution under a new case file.

CHARGES DROPPED (3 November, 2019)

The HKPF have dropped charges against seven students who participated in an unauthorized protest in June. Five hundred academics from HK's universities had petitioned the government not to prosecute the students.

CAUGHT IN THE NET (27 November, 2019)

A case against a Filipino dancer who was arrested after being caught up in a protest near the Mong Kok Police Station while he was out buying some food, was finally dropped during a hearing in the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court. He was wearing a black shirt at the time of his arrest.


According to prosecutors, Staniel Chan Yiu-kwan assaulted a Police officer in Mong Kok by hitting him on the arm on September 21. However, the charges were dropped after defence counsel said video footage showed it was in fact the officer who had charged towards Chan and attacked him. This was the fifth case in a month in which charges laid by Police were dropped.

NO PROOF (20 March, 2020)

Prosecutors abandoned a box cutter charge, after conceding there was no way to prove that the arrestee intended violence. Go Nim-chung, 20, was arrested about 2km before reaching an anti-parallel trader rally in the border town of Sheung Shui.

A summary of this brief investigation of how HKPF lost their credibility must mention several key points:

1. The HK government and its CE, propped up and coerced by the CCP, has used the HKPF as a means to their own end. The HKPF's loss of credibility is considered mere collateral damage by the CCP who have their own security forces, and are intent on strengthening their control of the Special Administrative Region (SAR). Gradually the 'rule of law' in HK is being replaced by 'rule by law'! HK is becoming more akin to a Police State in which the the HKPF are considered the enemy by the people.

2. The HKPF has been complicit in the subjugation and repression of democracy advocates in the SAR. They have restricted freedom of movement and expression by stopping protest marches and rallies, and aided the destruction of Lennon Walls across the territory. The HKPF have become a tool for the government of Carrie Lam, and the Secretary of Justice who have weaponised crime statutes for purposes they were never intended to be used for. Actually, since the Secretary of Justice role in HK is a political appointment made by the CCP, all prosecutions since the handover amount to political persecution. Knowing their own indiscretions, the HKPF have remained silent when their bosses push them towards unjust, unreasonable policing tactics. We are not referring here to a one-off event. This has been going on for weeks and months, and it is still happening now.

3. While the HKPF is meant to abide by and uphold the laws of the city, they have sometimes breached them. Officers have frequently acted with impunity, forgetting both the high standard of discipline expected of uniformed services, and the operational guidelines they must observe and respect. Officers of the force, and those in charge have taken literally, calls expressed in a figurative sense to "crack down on protesters". In its attempts to please the CCP and the CE, the HKPF breached the trust between themselves and the people they are meant to serve. They have carried out arbitrary arrests, and exacted "punishment" on protesters and innocents caught up in their brutality.

The HKPF have bought the rule of law and the whole system of justice in the SAR into question, which is a further breach of the Joint Declaration.

A Referendum can fix things...

The HKPF has shown that it operates for neither the security of HK, nor the protection of ordinary citizens. The force has betrayed the people of HK and things need to be put right.

Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration it is not right for HK as a city, or for the people of the SAR to suffer injustice and loss of freedoms just so the CCP can maintain and extend its power base.

The HKPF, the CE and the CCP have all brought havoc to HK, despite their stated desire for stability!

The CCP's failure to uphold the terms of the Joint Declaration is a dishonest betrayal to HKers, to mainlanders who deserve better, to international stakeholders and to the rest of humanity.

A public referendum for the people of HK, as suggested by Wethepeopleofhk.com would provide a mechanism whereby the wrongs of the last 23 years can eventually be put right (see our blogs on referendums here and here). This is about releasing the CCP stranglehold on the city, ending tyranny and charting the way forward. This can provide a way to set about reform of the HKPF.

China has breached the Joint Declaration. Holding a referendum in HK, is the right thing to do. A referendum will recognise the wrong, and correct and cancel out the effect of the breach - so long as the will of the people reflected in the referendum result is heeded.

Such a referendum, endorsed by the British and Chinese, and then acted upon, would allow the Joint Declaration between HK and Beijing to continue.

A referendum provides the people of HK a pathway towards satisfying the protesters' five demands, which includes an amnesty (read our blogs on the prospect of an amnesty here) and an independent commission of inquiry into alleged Police brutality (read this blog which details calls for international mediation in HK). And with universal suffrage in place for CE, as well as for Legislative Council and District Council elections, greater democracy in HK would pave the way for a review of institutions including the HKPF and the Security Bureau.

Jeremiah B.

Update: 29 April 2020, Two journalists arrested while investigating a news story concerning questionable actions by Assistant Police Commissioner Rupert Dover

UPDATE: Here's an interview with Alan Leong, lawmaker, Chairman of Hong Kong's Civic Party about HK has become China's newest POLICE STATE.

11 August, 2019, Daily Mail Online Fury over leading role played by senior British police officers in 'doing China's dirty work' and cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

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