Elderly activist Chan Ki-kau from the Protect Our Kids Campaign – a religious group that seek to act as protest mediators – said on Wednesday that he was pepper-sprayed by police for no reason on Saturday night.

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Activist Chan Ki-kau after he was pepper-sprayed. Photo: Benjamin Yuen, Chau Ho Man/United Social Press.

Chan, also known as “Grandpa Chan,” said on a radio programme on Wednesday that he was trying to provide assistance to an arrested young man.

“We told the police that they arrested a person, and we had the right to ask their name and get a social worker to follow up. We were negotiating with police and there were no physical clashes,” he told RTHK.

“But while we were talking, another team of officers… rushed over and used pepper spray against me from behind their shields,” he added. “Someone shoved me and I fell to the ground.”

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Activist Chan Ki-kau, also known as ‘Grandpa Chan.’ File photo: Stand News.

“There was no [warning]. Nowadays the police would use false pretences, and protect those officers who knowingly break the law,” he said.

On Saturday, protesters gathered in Yuen Long to mark the two month anniversary of the July 21 mob attacks, where men dressed in white indiscriminately assaulted train passengers and passersby with bamboo sticks and rods.

Since June, large-scale peaceful protests against a bill that would have enabled extraditions to China have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy and alleged police brutality

‘Yellow object’

Another volunteer from the Protect Our Kids Campaign also suffered from an alleged instance of police abuse on Saturday.

YouTube video

Chan recalled that he saw a suspected teammate being dragged away into a back alley. The force has since been under fire after video clips emerged of the man – dressed in yellow – apparently being kicked by an officer in the alleyway.

At Monday’s press briefing, Acting Senior Superintendent (Operations) Vasco Williams of New Territories North Region denied any instance of police misconduct, and claimed that police may have been kicking a “yellow object.”

Vasco Williams
Acting Senior Superintendent (Operations) Vasco Williams of New Territories North Region.

After the press conference, comments that appeared to be from Williams’ LinkedIn account emerged online. In public posts, he referred to protesters as “zombies” and said their five demands were “nonsense.” The account disappeared from public view within 24-hours.

The police told the Washington Post that they have social media guidelines but would not comment on individual cases. The force said it attached “great importance to the behaviour of police officers on the use of social media.”

Pastor Roy Chan from the Good Neighbourhood North District Church said that the volunteer in question was resting at home as of Wednesday, and was in good physical condition. The volunteer has not yet decided whether he will lodge a complaint against the police as he was “under great pressure.”

The Protect Our Kids Campaign will provide more training and review their practices after Saturday’s incident, he added.

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Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.