A police officer who rammed his motorcycle into a group of pro-democracy protesters in 2019 was handed “suitable written advice” following an investigation, HKFP has learned.

In December that year, as the anti-extradition law demonstrations continued to rock the city, then-Commissioner of Police Chris Tang told reporters the officer concerned was under investigation. Tang said that the fact he was returned to duty after being briefly put on leave was not a sign of “leniency.”

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On November 11, 2019 the unidentified officer was filmed zig-zagging his bike into fleeing, black-clad protesters three times near a Kwai Fong shopping mall. It is not known if any protesters were injured during the incident.

The police did not respond when asked if any laws or protocols had been broken, nor would they identify the officer. However, a spokesperson told HKFP that the “investigation into the incident has been concluded with suitable written advice administered to the officer concerned.”

HKFP submitted an Access to Information request to obtain the written advice, though the force requested more time on Friday.

motorcycle cop
Photo: Screenshot.

At the time of the incident, Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent John Tse claimed that the officer was trying to break up the protesters who had sprayed an unknown substance into a colleague’s face: “[The motorcyclist] tried to separate his colleagues and the rioters. According to the officer, he was attacked with hammers and punched while driving.”

“Any conduct that violates internal rules will be handled seriously by the police,” he said.

Protests erupted in June 2019 over a since-axed extradition bill. They escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment. Demonstrators demanded an independent probe into police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.” 

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.