Wednesday, 11 December 2019

IPCC Panel Quits, Government Credibilty Falls Further

There's lots of documented evidence of police brutality in the past six months
What did Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor think she would achieve by having a panel of international policing experts advise the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC)?

Today the panel announced it decided to "step aside" from the investigation into the police force's handling of the six month-long protests. In a statement, the experts said despite their calls for more investigative powers, "dialogue with the IPCC has not led to any agreed process through which the [panel] would be able to effectively support the Thematic Study [of several key protest dates] any further at this stage".

Denis O'Connor has said an independent inquiry is needed
"As a result, the [panel] has taken the decision to formally stand aside from its role," they said.

Earlier last month the panel already proposed that the police watchdog be given more powers to conduct a full investigation into officers' conduct into the handling of the protests triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Lam was not pleased they said this early on, and has consistently told the media she would wait to see what was in the panel's report that would have been submitted next month.

However the panel has effectively quit today. Maybe it didn't help that IPCC chairman Anthony Neoh, who had actually gone to the UK to recruit these international experts with years of experience in policing and crowd behaviour, really understood Hong Kong, and described their suggestions as overstepping the police watchdog's remit.

IPCC's Anthony Neoh tried to downplay the panel quitting
As for the panel quitting, Neoh and his deputy, pro-Beijing lawmaker Tony Tse Wai-chuen tried to downplay the news more as the panel "standing aside" and that the experts could be involved again later. How many people believe that?

Did Lam really think these experts, like Denis O'Connor, a former British chief inspector of constabulary, and Justice Colin Doherty, head of New Zealand's police watchdog were lame puppets? She was sorely mistaken.

This is just yet another indication of how little credibility if any the government has left. It can't even take the constructive suggestions of policing experts to hold an independent inquiry. And more importantly why is Lam dragging her feet so much on this issue?

Does she really have no power to call a proper inquiry? Or is she too terrified to do that because she has lost control of the police?

What did Lam think she would gain from the panel?
So was this panel of experts just for show and to buy time? Apparently these experts didn't get the memo and made a decent recommendation that would have won wide-spread public support and possibly decreased the number and intensity of the protests.

But now we are stuck with more protests and more distrust of the police and government.

Lam really doesn't want to end this crisis, does she?

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