UK police said they have identified “a number of offences including assaults and public order offences” in a case involving a pro-democracy protester from Hong Kong who was allegedly attacked at Manchester’s Chinese consulate in October.
The Greater Manchester Police said in a Monday statement that they were “actively seeking” more potential victims in the incident. The force has not yet made any arrests and has only received one minor injury report from one of their officers, other than the alleged victim.
The incident occurred on October 16, when a protester, Bob Chan, was allegedly dragged into Chinese consulate grounds and beaten up during a protest outside the building.
According to the police statement, the incident “left a man in his 30s with several minor physical injuries.”
Meanwhile, Beijing said the protesters were to blame as they “illegally entered” the consulate and “endangered” the premises’ security.
The Chinese Consul-General in Manchester, Zheng Xiyuan, who was seen pulling the protester’s hair, told UK media “it’s my duty” to react as the man “abused” his country and his leader.
The Greater Manchester Police said on Monday’s statement that their investigators have been gathering a range of evidence including “CCTV, police body-worn video, mobile phone footage, and witness statements from as many people involved as possible.”
“So far, we have identified a number of offences including assaults and public order offences.”
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes added in the statement that the police have identified a number of potential suspects and victims as well.
“This is a sensitive but, importantly, an objective investigation that will involve us working for as long as required to speak to all those concerned to achieve as many answers as we possibly can,” Sykes said.
The Director General of British intelligence agency MI5, Ken McCallum, cited the incident in a warning about China’s “concerning activity” during an annual address about the threats faced by the UK.
“The Chinese authorities use all the means at their disposal to monitor – and where they deem necessary intimidate – the Chinese diaspora,” said McCallum.
“This was brought home recently when a pro-democracy protester appeared to be the subject of violence outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester. We’re seeing further indications of that repression,” he said, adding that “[t]o intimidate or harass UK nationals or those who have made the UK their home cannot be tolerated.”
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