Hong Kong activists have filed complaints over alleged police misconduct during the clashes with anti-extradition law protesters last Wednesday.

During the demonstration against the extradition bill, police deployed its Special Tactical Squad – nicknamed “raptors” – but many of them did not display any identification numbers or their ranks on their uniforms.

Explaining the issue to lawmakers at the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Secretary for Security John Lee said the uniforms had “no room” for identification numbers.

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Police “raptors” team without identification numbers on June 12. Photo: Todd R. Darling/HKFP.

But Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said news reports relating to protests on June 9 and 10 showed that the team did have identification numbers on the uniforms. He said Lee’s claim was not therefore unconvincing.

Lam made a police report against Lee at the Wan Chai police headquarters.

“No numbers, no insignia on the shoulder, no warrant card – It is very difficult for residents and press to identify police officers who abused their power,” Lam said.

“If the police force allows many officers to hide their identification numbers, the objective effect is to encourage and to allow them to abuse their power, to act illegally.”

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Police “raptors” team on June 10 with identification numbers (left); the same team with the numbers on June 12 (right). Photo: Stand News.

Hong Kong has seen the largest protests in its history amid government plans to update the city’s extradition laws to cover territories with which there are no prior agreements. Introduced in February in response to a Taiwan murder, the since-postponed bill would allow case-by-case fugitive transfers to other jurisdictions – such as China – without legislative oversight. The plan prompted a chorus of criticism from democratslawyersjournalistsforeign politicians and businesses, who say the mainland lacks human rights protections.

Rush to Citic Tower

During last Wednesday’s protests against the bill – which effectively forced the government suspension – 150 tear gas canisters, 20 bean bag rounds and several rounds of rubber bullets were deployed, according to Police Commissioner Stephen Lo. At least 76 were injured, and 32 were arrested.

Civil Human Rights Front
Civil Human Rights Front filing complaints on June 20. Photo: inmediahk.net.

The Civil Human Rights Front also filed a complaint against the police on Thursday.

As the unrest unfolded last week, the Front was holding a rally – approved by the police – outside Citic Tower next to the Legislative Council.

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Photo: Lampson Yip.

Jimmy Sham, convener of the Front, said the police used force to disperse participants of the rally without any warning. He said tear gas engulfed the crowd from both sides, forcing people to rush into nearby Citic Tower, where only one door was open.

“Thousands were at a peaceful rally. Many protesters were trying to find a space [to escape to] and they went on to our stage – and the police shot tear gas at the stage,” Sham said.

Sham said that the police action could have caused a stampede.

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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.