The police have said an officer was using the minimum amount of force necessary when she sat on an arrested student’s head during an operation on Wednesday morning.
The remarks by Hung Hom Division Commander Alan Chung came after photos of the arrest were circulated online. The officers were wearing black masks and black jackets. One held a walkie-talkie as another held an extendable baton.
Chung told reporters that the police received information that around ten masked protesters wearing school uniforms were blocking roads on Tuesday morning near Ma Tau Wai Road and Tam Kung Road. They were also reported to be conducting criminal damage to three buses passing by, police said. The force, therefore, deployed in plainclothes on Wednesday morning to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
Chung said that, at 7:15am on Wednesday, seven to eight masked protesters in school uniforms gathered to try to block roads, and spray painted a passing bus.
Officers subdued four people, including a 14-year-old female student and three 15-year-old male students on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons, acting in a disorderly manner in public and criminal damage. All studied at schools in the area and one of the boys had an extendable baton, Chung said.
Chung said a 47-year-old man tried to push away a female officer during the arrest of the female student and attacked her, even though he was told that she was an officer. The man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting and obstructing police officer.
Asked if the officer was acting excessively by sitting on the arrested student’s head, Chung said police used minimum force.
“I have seen the photo on social media. We cannot come to a conclusion simply based on a photo. As I said, the arrested female struggled and a 47-year-old tried to assault our female colleague to help the female student to escape,” Chung said. “The female student was quickly handcuffed and [then] no-one was sitting on her. Thus, we used minimum force.”
The arrested people were taken to Hung Hom police station for further investigation.
Chung said the police believed the students were working together.
The police are looking into why a student was in possession of an extendable baton.
Protests first sparked by the now withdrawn extradition law have been ongoing for almost six months. They have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police action, calls for democracy, and anger over Beijing’s encroachment. A protest organised by the Civil Human Rights Front is set to take place this Sunday.
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