Amnesty condemns ‘disproportionate use of force’ by Hong Kong police

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 20, 2019   •   184

Amnesty International accused Hong Kong police on Friday (September 19) of torture and other abuses in their handling of more than three months of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests, but the police have said they had shown restraint.

Anti-government protesters, many masked and wearing black, have thrown petrol bombs at the police and central government offices, stormed the Legislative Council, blocked roads to the airport, trashed metro stations and set fires on the streets of the Chinese-ruled city.

Police have responded with tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets, bean bags and several live rounds fired in the air, warning the crowds beforehand with a series of different coloured banners. They have also been seen beating protesters on the ground with batons.

Amnesty East Asia director Nicholas Bequelim told Reuters a field investigation had documented “disproportionate use of force” by the Hong Kong Police Force as well as mistreatment of detainees, including “a couple cases of torture”.

Amnesty also said the investigation had found “exclusive evidence of torture and other ill-treatment in detention” and called into question the Hong Kong government’s whole approach to the protest movement.

There appeared to be a “level of incompetence” among the police force, with some instances of teargas being deployed without proper justification or clear purpose to maintain public order, Bequelim said.

Amnesty called on the Hong Kong government to conduct a dialogue with the protesters, and establish an independent investigation committee to look into the accusations of excessive use of force by police. (REUTERS)

(Production: Xihao Jiang, Joyce Zhou, Jiraporn Kuhakan, Alex Solum, Peter Blaza, Angie Teo)

Hong Kong legislature suspended amid chaos over protests

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam addresses a press conference after presenting her 2019 policy address in Hong Kong, China, 16 October 2019. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL CANDELA

Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong heckled the city’s embattled leader and called for her to step down on Thursday (October 17) during a legislative session that was repeatedly suspended as several politicians were manhandled out of the chamber.

It was the second day of chaos in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council as leader Carrie Lam tried to answer questions about her annual policy address, which she was forced to deliver by video link on Wednesday (October 16) after similar disruptions in the assembly.

Lam, who is backed by China’s government, announced measures on Wednesday to tackle the city’s chronic housing shortage in her address after she was jeered in the chamber. Again, on Thursday, pro-democracy lawmakers shouted for Lam to resign, saying she had blood on her hands.

They also called on her to address protesters’ key demands – something her policy address largely ignored.

About a dozen members of the assembly were ejected, shouting and waving placards as security guards marched them out. (Reuters)

(Production: Xihao Jiang, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

DOLE reminds Filipinos in Hong Kong to stay alert amid fresh protests

Robie de Guzman   •   October 10, 2019

Riot police officers detain a protester in Mong Kok during an anti-government protest in Hong Kong, China, 07 October 2019. Anti-government protesters continue to take to the streets against the government’s use of emergency powers to ban face masks in public in a bid to end the city’s protests. Hong Kong has been gripped by mass demonstrations since June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill, which have since morphed into a wider anti-government movement. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reminds Filipinos in Hong Kong anew to stay alert and cautious amid escalating protests and public disruptions in the area.

DOLE reiterated its reminder after it received fresh reports on the series of protest actions resulting to disruptions in public transport and business activities in various parts of the region.

“We are again urging all our OFWs in Hong Kong to exercise caution by staying indoors and keeping away from the locations where protest activities are taking place,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Based on the latest advisory issued by the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong, below are the areas and dates when protests are reportedly to be held:

10 October: Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station
12 October: New Town Plaza Shatin
13 October: Victoria Park and Edinburgh Place
14 October: Edinburgh Place and Chater Garden
16 October: Resumption of Legislative Council
20 October: The Riverpark Tai Wai to Shatin
21 October: Yuen Long MTR Station
26 October: Tamar Park Admiralty
31 October: Prince Edward MTR Station

Bello also reminded Filipino workers in Hong Kong to refrain from wearing black or white colored upper garments while on the streets to avoid being mistaken as protesters.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier issued an advisory on fresh protests in Hong Kong, adding that these demonstrations are expected to continue throughout the month. The DFA also reminded Filipinos in Hong kong anew to not participate in, and to stay away from protest areas.

The labor chief assured it continues to monitor developments in the area.

Hong Kong leader, no plans to use emergency powers for other laws

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference announcing a ban on face masks in public, in Hong Kong, China, 04 October 2019. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (October 8) her administration had no plans to use emergency powers for the introduction of other laws and that the Chinese territory was equipped to handle the current situation on its own as the city braced for further demonstrations through the week.

Lam was speaking at a news conference after a long weekend of violent protests at which thousands of people defied colonial-era emergency powers imposed on Saturday (October 5) that had banned the wearing of face masks.

Lam on Friday (October 4) invoked the emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years in a dramatic move intended to quell the escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city.

The ban on face masks took effect Saturday, Oct. 5, under the emergency laws that allow authorities to “make any regulations whatsoever” in the public interest, Lam said. (Reuters)

(Production: Joyce Zhou)

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