Two protesters are seeking HK$50,000 from the police after officers used handcuffs whilst arresting them ahead of this year’s July 1 pro-democracy demonstration. The protest took place when Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Hong Kong for the 20th anniversary of the Handover.

According to writs obtained by HKFP from Labour Party’s Chiu Yan-loy, the two claimants – Leung Kwok-wah and Kwan Chun-pong – were displaying a “I want real universal suffrage” banner at 8:30am in the morning at the Tsim Sha Tsui harbour. A plainclothes officer, who did not provide identification, clashed with the claimants.

police claimants
The claimants, assisted by Chiu Yan-Loy. Photo: Citizen News.

Kwan fell on to the ground and Leung stood at the promenade using his phone – they were arrested by two uniformed officers following the dispute. The officers put handcuffs on the claimants even though they did not resist arrest, and did not remove them until they reached the Tsim Sha Tsui police station, the writ said.

The pair claimed that – in using handcuffs – the police used excessive force beyond what was reasonable and necessary, constituting assault. They said it was in violation of Chapter 29 of the Police General Orders. The chapter of the guidelines specifies the circumstances in which handcuffs may be used, but it is not currently available publicly.

File photo: Thómas Tan, via Flickr.

The claimants are now seeking HK$50,000 at the Small Claims Tribunal in compensation from the police commissioner, including HK$25,000 for pain and suffering, HK$15,000 for injury to dignity and HK$10,000 in punitive damages.

Outside court, the two claimants said that they hoped the legal challenge will force the relevant guidelines on the use of force to become public, so as to keep a check on police powers.

The Small Claims Tribunal adjudicator recommended that the claimants seek legal advice owing to the points of law involved in the case, Ming Pao reported. The hearing will resume on February 1, 2018.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.