Pro-democracy lawmakers have said the police have falsely accused protesters of blocking ambulances as they arrived at Wan Chai’s police headquarters during a protest last Friday.
Protesters surrounded the building for almost 15 hours, demanding Police Commissioner Stephen Lo speak to them and arrested anti-extradition law protesters be released. They also called for the characterisation of the June 12 protests as a “riot” be withdrawn.
Police said in a statement that, during the demonstration, ambulances were called at 9:33pm to receive staff who needed medical attention, including personnel who had long-term illnesses, cancer, and one who was pregnant. The force claimed that the ambulances took over an hour to arrive because of obstruction intentionally caused by protesters.
But protesters said that when paramedics arrived at the police headquarters it took 20 minutes for them to open the gate. An HKFP reporter observed protesters making way for medics, with the ambulances leaving the area at around midnight.
…who are suffering from long-term illness, cancer and those in need. Police hereby appeals to leave from the relevant roads as soon as possible.
— Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) June 21, 2019
Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki and Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung were on the scene at the time. They said on a Commercial Radio programme on Monday that an ambulance arrived right outside the premises.
“Ambulances had no problem entering at all. Regardless of how many people were there, people always opened up a path for ambulances,” said Kwok, who is also a doctor. He added that there were also some first-aiders responding.
Patrick Lee, a deputy director at the Hong Kong Police College, arrived on the scene at around 11pm on Friday, saying that he had finished work at the college. When interviewed by reporters at the time, he claimed that protesters did not allow paramedics to go into the police headquarters.
“Is it the case that our staff are not humans to you?” Lee said at the time.
But Kwok said Lee was telling lies, as he had asked every single person exiting the building if they need any help from him as a doctor: “No-one barred [police staff] from coming out,” Kwok said. “[Lee’s remarks] show us that police tell lies.”
“I have no confidence in what police say anymore,” he added.
Cheung said police were clearly telling lies to “smear protesters.”
“Lying has become a norm for officials. I cannot believe they would lie when we were there and the media were live-broadcasting the scene,” he said.
During the June 12 protests, tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bags were deployed to clear protesters occupying roads, as crowds pushed forward into police lines throwing objects. At least 76 were injured and 32 were arrested, including eight who were released unconditionally later.
Legal amendments were proposed in February to allow the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements – most notably China. Lawyers, journalists, foreign politicians and businesses have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections. The bill was suspended after mass protests.
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