Hong Kong police allegedly pushed a pregnant woman to the ground on Monday while dispersing a gathering in Mong Kok to mark the first anniversary of the Prince Edward incident.
Last August 31, police special tactical squad officers wielded batons and deployed pepper spray against passengers inside train carriages and on platforms of Prince Edward MTR station, injuring at least 10 people.
Hundreds turned up at Mong Kok’s Langham Place shopping mall and Prince Edward station on Monday to commemorate the incident.
Some protesters chanted slogans such as “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” and “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.” Police displayed a purple flag to warn the crowd that their chants may be contravening the new national security law. The law criminalises subversion, secession, colluding with foreign forces and inference with transportation and other infrastructure.
Online media outlet Studio Incendo reported that a pregnant woman was pushed to the ground, allegedly by police, during a scuffle with protesters. She was taken to Kwong Wah Hospital by ambulance.
The woman, who is seven to eight months pregnant, told Stand News from a stretcher that police had pepper-sprayed her and pushed her to the ground.
According to district councillor Andy Yu of the Civic Party, police arrested the woman’s husband – who was also pepper-sprayed – first on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and later of disorderly conduct in a public place.
Police later wrote on Facebook that they “rendered assistance” to the pregnant woman and did not comment on allegations they had pushed her. “The Police are highly concerned about this case and express concern for the pregnant woman, who was affected during the chaotic situation on the protest site.”
Chief Executive Carrie Lam also expressed concern but told reporters on Tuesday: “If there hadn’t been any rioting, vandalism or violence, the police would not have had to enforce the law. The focus has always been on the way in which the police have enforced the law but they forget why the police are there: to maintain public order and protect people’s safety.”
Speaking about the pregnant woman, Lam said: “She suffered from some discomfort. I expressed my concern and I don’t want to see something like that happen again.”
Local media said 12 people were arrested on Monday, mostly for taking part in an unauthorised assembly.
Activist in London
During the original incident last year, police demanded that all first-aiders and members of the press leave the station. Rumours – which were emphatically denied – circulated that police had killed people inside the station while the press were excluded, including a man called Hon Bo-san.
A year later, the man misidentified as “Hon Bo-san” appeared in London and posted a video on Facebook to clarify the situation. Jim Wong – the protester charged with rioting and damage to property – said he had sought asylum in London and had kept a low profile for the past year.