Activist Joshua Wong has applied to a court in order to claim HK$45,000 from police chief Stephen Lo over an incident whereby he was handcuffed without being arrested during a protest this month.

Wong and other activists were attempting to protest at the 7am flag raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square on July 1, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the city. But they became involved in a scuffle with pro-Beijing counter-protesters at their starting point near a Wan Chai MTR exit.

Joshua Wong
Joshua Wong. Photo: Joshua Wong.

Wong was taken by officers to a police van and handcuffed. He was brought to the police headquarters in Wan Chai, but officers told him they did not intend to arrest him.

“The police’s use of handcuffs was battery and false imprisonment,” he wrote on the claim form.

His application to the Small Claims Tribunal on Wednesday included HK$20,000 in damages in trespass to persons, HK$20,000 in damages to reputation, and HK$5,000 in exemplary damages.

handover scuffle lsd
Joshua Wong in handcuffs (L) and another activist’s injury (R). Photo: Demosisto/LSD.

Wong said that, in a 2009 case, the Court of Appeal ruled that the police do not have the right to use any force – including handcuffs – without making a legal arrest. The plaintiff won compensation as the court ruled that the police made an illegal arrest.

Wong added that, if he wins the case, he will give all the compensation to a fund supporting protesters facing “political persecution”.

Joshua Wong
Form of claim. Photo: Joshua Wong.

The case will be heard at 9am on August 7.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.