Hong Kong police have allegedly mistreated a detainee, who was arrested last year for criminal intimidation. A knife found in her kitchen was used as evidence in court.

The woman surnamed Fung, 50, alleged that during her detention, officers refused to give her water or allow her to use the bathroom unless she consented to having her fingerprint recorded. As a result, she had to relieve herself on the floor four times. She claimed an officer threatened her, saying: “I will take you down tonight.”

Fung (centre) met with the press on Monday. Photo: Apple Daily.

Last September, Fung quarreled with the management staff at her estate in Tuen Mun after they asked her to remove a bike outside her apartment. Fung said she tried to take photos of the staff with her phone as she was upset at their poor attitude. She claimed one of them told her “I know how to make you go to jail.”

Fung was then arrested by around eight police officers – carrying shields – on the basis that she used a knife to threaten the staff. Officers said a knife found in her kitchen was evidence.

‘Waste of public money’

Fung appeared before the court on the next day. The prosecution alleged that she suffered psychiatric illnesses and asked the court to detain her at the Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre, a maximum security facility.

After spending 16 days at the centre, Fung was discharged as no mental issues were found.

Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre. File Photo: Wikicommons.

Fung was acquitted in January without having to defend herself, as there was no CCTV footage or testimony of an independent third party. The magistrate criticised the prosecution of wasting public money by pressing charges without strong evidence.

Official complaint

Fung subsequently filed a complaint to the Complaints Against Police Office, an internal police unit. Nearly a year on, the office is still investigating the complaint, Fung was told.

On Wednesday, she demanded an apology from the police in the company of pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung.

Leung said he recently received two other similar cases in which the police arrested people based on the testimonies of only one party. He expressed concerns that such a practice had become a norm within the force.

The Complaints Against Police Office acquired an international certificate in “Quality management – customer satisfaction” in 2013 and 2014. File Photo: HK Police.

A police spokesperson confirmed that the Complaints Against Police Office had received Fung’s complaint and would handle the case fairly and in accordance with procedures. It declined to make further comment.

Synergis Management Services, the management company involved in Fung’s case, told Apple Daily that it had received complaints from residents concerned about fire safety hazards posed by Fung’s bike.

It said its employees had sought police assistance, but were not involved in the dispute after officers took over.

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Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.