Monday, 30 December 2019

HK Police Force's "Alternate Facts"

A man with a bloodied face tries to run from men with sticks in Yuen Long
As discussed in an earlier blog post, the Hong Kong police force lives in a parallel universe which makes it practically impossible to come to some kind of mutual understanding with the protesters.

It is, as the Trump administration would say, presenting "alternate facts".

Case in point. Today the public face of the force, senior superintendent Kong Wing-cheung, says the vicious July 21 attack in the Yuen Long MTR station which resulted in at least 45 people injured, was caused by "a group of people leading protesters" to the area.

Kong Wing-cheung claims protesters aggravated triads
What?

On that evening around 10.30pm, a large gang of men wearing white shirts holding steel rods and rattan sticks indiscriminately attacked people in an MTR train, on the escalator and in the entrance area. There are so many video clips of these attacks, even a Stand News reporter was attacked and she kept filming.

At the time people called 999 for the police to come, and finally after 30 minutes two officers arrived, but as soon as they saw what was going on in the MTR station, they fled. No arrests were made that night.

Then around 11.30pm, 30 police officers came, but the men in white shirts had already left.

Just after midnight, the white-shirted men came back again, managing to lift up the MTR station's shutters and attacked people again, and there was no police in sight again.

Eventually the police confiscated some metal rods, but didn't arrest anyone, claiming they couldn't identify the attackers.

People were attacked indiscriminately by men in white shirts
Today Kong was questioned during the press conference about why the two police officers ran away, to which he replied: "I wouldn't say the situation at that time was running away. Everyone needs to broaden their horizons a little... er... it's... by a group... a group of protesters brought to Yuen Long to cause the whole thing."

What?

The senior superintendent didn't name any names, but his claim echoes a similar allegation by pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who in a December 12 motion in the Legislative Council, accused pro-democracy legislator Lam Cheuk-ting of leading "a number of black-clad people" to Yuen Long on the MTR.

Ho said the protesters "repeatedly provoked a group of white-clad residents gathering in the station".

In response to Kong's claim, Lam accused the police of completely distorting the truth about the mob attack on July 21.

Lam Cheuk-ting was injured July 21
"Mr Kong publicly told lies and tried to shift the blame from the police force to the victims of the Yuen Long attack. It is extremely shameless and horrible. I doubt whether the police force can conduct an investigation against those attackers. Most of them are probably triad members," Lam said.

Some locals in Yuen Long claim they had heard the triads were going to mount some kind of attack three days earlier and were warned not to go out that day.

How come the police didn't know about this, or they did know and looked the other way?

This is why (along with many other incidents) we need to have an independent inquiry into the police handling of the protests for the past seven months.

There needs to be an understanding of what has been going on and to rectify the situation.

Hongkongers cannot live in continued mistrust of the police. But sadly the damage has been done, and with the force presenting its "alternate facts", how can we ever mend the ever-widening rift?

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