A number of protesters appeared in court in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the most serious of the cases involving a teenager who faces a maximum sentence of life in jail in connection with slashing a police officer’s neck.
An 18-year-old surnamed Hui, a secondary six student, was charged with wounding with intent in connection with the slashing of a police officer’s neck outside Kwun Tong MTR station on Sunday. Hui did not appear in the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday as he was still in a hospital, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. There was no information on his injuries.
Magistrate Bina Chainrai deemed it not appropriate to start court proceedings in Hui’s absence and adjourned the case to Friday, pending his discharge from hospital.
The court heard Hui was arrested on the spot for allegedly wounding a uniformed police officer, identified as X, in an attempt to cause grievous bodily harm near exit A1 of the Kwun Tong MTR station on Sunday. In another case, a 13-year-old boy faced four counts, including false imprisonment, unlawful assembly, wounding with intent and breaching of the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation.
The boy was arrested in Tsuen Kwan O on Sunday after two undercover police officers were attacked by demonstrators on Tong Chun Street. A baton and a mobile phone belonging to one of the officers were snatched away.
Meanwhile, two men were charged over allegedly attacking a police officer – identified as W – outside Grand Plaza in Mong Kok on Sunday. The Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts heard that a 30-year-old construction worker surnamed Tse was charged with one count of intent to rob, while a 24-year-old civil engineer surnamed Kam, who remained in hospital, was charged with one count each of possessing an offensive weapon, possessing a Hong Kong ID card belonging to another person and assaulting a police officer.
The prosecution said outside the court that they would apply for an injunction to ban the media from revealing the name and background of the injured officer, the Sing Tao Daily reported.
Meanwhile, Lam Chi-wai, chairman of the Junior Police Officers’ Association, issued a letter to his colleagues on Tuesday, saying they had been working under great pressure and facing violence, but officers still stood in the frontlines to handle the “rioters.”
However, he added that he saw no strong measures to support them and heard few voices of support from society, news website HK01.com reported. The police had been portrayed as a political tool that had no conscience and was accused of fictitious fabrications, the head of the largest police group said.
Lam urged policymakers to face reality and take strong measures and actions to stop the violence and chaos and restore social order. However, the results of the latest public opinion poll showed support for the Hong Kong Police Force had dropped to its lowest point.
On a scale from zero to 10, 51.5% of respondents gave zero marks when asked if they trusted the Hong Kong police, while only 9.3% gave a 10, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Communication and Public Opinion Survey from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The average mark stood at 2.6.
This was the first time that more than half of the respondents gave zero marks in the past four surveys, which started in late May. The poll, which was sponsored by the Ming Pao Daily, involved interviews with 751 people between October 8 and 14 and those interviewed were aged 15 and above.
It also showed that 68.8% of people supported the suggestion of a large-scale regrouping of the police force, while 22% said they did not support the idea. The survey also showed that the younger the respondents, the less trust they had in the police force.
Among respondents aged between 15 and 24, 89.3% said they tended not to trust the police, while 83.8% of the respondents aged between 25 and 39 said the same. For those aged above 60, only 30.5% said they tended to trust the force, while 56.7% said they did not.
Meanwhile, some people set up an online database of 600 cases where they alleged the police used excessive force and brutality on protesters in Hong Kong, the Apple Daily reported.
One of the initiators, only named as Ms C who worked in the IT industry, said she had the idea of the database after gangsters in white shirts attacked ordinary citizens in Yuen Long Station with rattan canes and sticks on July 21.
She is now managing the database with 30 volunteers who helped to collect and organize the news and cases posted on social media. They also translated the information to English and Japanese. Ms C said the database was a record and the information would be disseminated to international human rights organizations for their investigations.