Correctional Services Commissioner Lam Kwok-leung has denied activist Joshua Wong’s claims that he was stripped naked and asked to answer an officer’s questions while squatting on the floor in prison. Kwok said that the department makes no such requests of prisoners.
Wong earlier told Ming Pao in an interview that the incident took place on the 61st day of his imprisonment, shortly after he turned 21 and was transferred to the low-security Tung Tau Correctional Institution. The Demosisto democracy activist said that the three minutes were the most humiliating of his 69-day jail stint.
“Other prisoners also said they had a similar experience; they said that squatting on the floor naked made them feel like a dog and that they were stripped of their dignity,” he said.
Lam said after an event on Sunday morning, “We have already explained – we do not make such requests. With regards to individual cases, we usually ask that they file a complaint or [engage in] other ways of dealing with the matter, such as informing an officer present of the situation.”
Lam said that he did not know whether Wong had made a complaint, as he had only just returned to Hong Kong. He said that the department acts in accordance to the relevant laws and rules, and that there are no “special requests” such as those mentioned by Wong. The department treats everyone equally, he added.
In response, Wong said in a post on Facebook: “If Lam Kwok-leung is not lying with his eyes open, he’s at least ignorant of the situation – or he’s implying that I’m falsely accusing the Correctional Services Department.” Wong added, “Is it so difficult to understand that there should be human rights in prison too?”
The Court of Appeal sentenced Wong, along with activists Nathan Law and Alex Chow, to prison in August over their involvement in a clash which sparked the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests. They were given jail sentences of six to eight months. All three appealed.
The top court last week granted them permission to go ahead with their appeal. They are currently released on bail until January 16, the day of their appeal hearing.