A 33-year-old man has filed a lawsuit against the police chief, alleging that the force abused its power during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Wall painter Leung Wai-man already received compensation from police last year in the first out-of-court settlement for injuries sustained during the 79-day movement. On Monday, he brought another case against the force accusing it of abusing its power.

Leung Wai-man
Leung Wai-man. File Photo: Stand News.

“I want to send a message to the police: Do not expect compensation to silence people who you wrongfully assaulted,” Leung told Apple Daily on Wednesday.

Leung was arrested on November 30, 2014 in Mong Kok. The protest camp in Mong Kok was already taken down at the time, but a group of demonstrators crowded a busy street in the area and clashed with police as officers tried to prevent reoccupation.

The painter said he was dining with friends in the area that night. He claimed that he was just passing by on the street when police officers took him away and pushed him onto the ground without prior warning.

A video taken by a witness appears to show several people arguing with police officers before Leung and another were suddenly taken from the crowd.

YouTube video

Leung was charged with assaulting police four days after his arrest, but the prosecutor dropped the case when Leung appeared in court a month later.

‘Abuse of power’

Leung is now seeking a civil claim against Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung, after the Complaints Against Police Office – a police unit – failed to respond to his complaint filed eight months ago.

The painter accused the police of false arrest, illegal detention and malicious prosecution on the basis that they knew there was not enough supporting evidence to press charges against him.

He also said the police force abused its power and alleged that some officers assaulted him.

police leung wai-man
Police officers took Leung (green shirt) away. Photo: 28floorking, via Youtube.

In his first civil claim against the police, Leung sought HK$200,000 in compensation for injuries sustained from an alleged beating by police. He said the injuries included a broken wrist, bruises on his body and broken blood vessels in his eyes.

The Department of Justice and the police force offered him a HK$189,000 settlement on the condition that he kept the deal secret. Leung rejected their condition, and the amount was eventually paid to him with no stipulations.

Despite the settlement, Leung continued to pursue his case against the force. “I have evidence to prove my innocence. There is no reason to stay quiet and not stand up for myself,” he said on Wednesday.

Leung said the incident damaged his reputation. For example, he said he was mocked by many of his colleagues, who were against the Occupy protests and believed he was a “troublemaker.”

The police force was criticised for its heavy-handed response to the Occupy movement, with news reports and social media posts showing many people injured from alleged police assaults.

Franklin Chu King-wai was filmed hitting pedestrians with a baton.
Frankly Chu King-wai was filmed hitting pedestrians with a baton.

The prosecutor has pressed charges against eight police officers in two high-profile cases so far. Seven officers were recently jailed for two years, while a retired officer is facing prosecution.

Last December, the Independent Police Complaints Council said that only five complaints out of 274 related to the Occupy protests were substantiated.

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