DFA assures aid for Filipino arrested in Hong Kong
Robie de Guzman • August 6, 2019 • 334
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has assured to provide assistance to an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was arrested for allegedly participating in ongoing anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Citing reports from its Consulate General’s office in Hong kong, the DFA said consular officers have visited the arrested Filipino, whom they say is in “good condition.”
The OFW is currently under investigation for “unlawful assembly” over his alleged participation in the protests.
He, however, “categorically denied” any involvement in the rallies, the DFA said.
“The Filipino categorically denied that he was taking part in the protest, and insisted that he was just in the area to buy food, passing through the side streets, knowing that protests were ongoing in the main streets,” the department said in a statement issued on Monday.
“However, protesters were also on the side street where he was, and the former started running as they were chased by riot police. He was accosted by the police in the belief that he was one of the protesters,” it added.
Deputy Consul General to Hong Kong Germinia Aguilar-Usudan assured they are closely coordinating with Hong Kong authorities and the Filipino’s lawyers for his release.
They are also making sure that the OFW’s legal rights (and his assertions of innocence) are duly respected.
It also reiterated its advice for Filipinos to stay alert and avoid protest areas, as well as, refrain from wearing clothing or carrying anything that could mistakenly identify them as part of the demonstrations.
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)
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Hong Kong is facing a crisis of the rule of law and the most pressing task is to bring an end to the violence and restore social order in the city, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman, made the comment at a regular press briefing while responding to a reporter’s question about a Hong Kong lawmaker’s remarks at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
Hua refuted the lawmaker’s statement that Hong Kong is on the “verge of a humanitarian crisis”.
“I think Hong Kong is indeed at the brink of a crisis now, but not a ‘humanitarian crisis’ as she alleged, but a crisis of the rule of law. Over the past two months or so, we have clearly seen how the situation in Hong Kong developed. I noted that journalists with CNN recently also turned their camera lens to those violent radicals who hurt ordinary people and passers-by. They waged crazy, heinous attacks and caused severe harms to the rule of law and security of the whole society,” said Hua.
Hua said that the most pressing and overriding task at the moment is to stop violence, end the chaos and restore the rule of law and order.
“What really needs to be investigated are those violent radicals and their criminal behaviors and the backstage manipulators, all of which have contributed to the seriously damaging, extreme violence in Hong Kong,” she said. (REUTERS)
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