HK protests: man shot by pepper ball loses High Court bid to identify police officer who fired the round

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 7:07 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong man who was shot by police with a pepper ball round during an anti-government protest has failed to obtain a court order for the disclosure of the officer’s identity, after a judge concluded he was “merely seeking to fish for a case”.

Ng Ying-mo had sued the police commissioner for the names and personal information of the officer who fired the round at Tim Wa Avenue in Admiralty on June 12, 2019, as well as those of his squad and superior officer.

He also claimed that, as well as being shot in the stomach, he was assaulted by several policemen during an unauthorised procession at the junction of Ka On Street and Des Voeux Road West in Sai Wan on August 4 of the same year. Ng demanded to know the officer who intercepted him and those who were deployed at the time in question.

The man said he had been advised that it was necessary for him to first identify the officers involved so that he could take them to court on allegations of battery, misfeasance in public office and negligence.

But Justice Wilson Chan Ka-shun of the High Court on Tuesday found Ng was “merely seeking to ‘fish’ for a case or ‘fine-tune’ his perceived case”, and sided with the commissioner in finding the documents sought were not necessary.

The judge said this was not a case where the plaintiff needed the names of the officers involved to take further action, given that he was already able to identify by description the one who shot him in June and another who intercepted him in August.

“It is conceptually entirely possible for the plaintiff to bring proceedings against them by describing them, and serving the writ on them at their last known address, for example the police headquarters,” Chan continued in his 28-page judgment.

Even if the disclosure was necessary, the judge said he needed to consider “the real and substantial risk” that the officers would be subject to doxxing activities, in light of the “serious situation” of doxxing in Hong Kong.

The court heard the video clip capturing the firing officer had been widely circulated online, while posters of the intercepting officer and his wife were found in the vicinity of his home and school, forcing the family to move.

Ng’s arresting officer on June 12 was also doxxed, with his personal data posted online.

Chan said it would not help Ng to say that the disclosed information would not be used for other purposes.

“Very simply, no one in Hong Kong should be doxxing police officers,” he continued. “The particular problem of doxxing is not one that can be resolved by relying on people to comply with the law.”

The judge also sided with the defence in finding Ng had failed to show “any good arguable case” that the two key officers had wronged him and used unreasonable force, given that his injuries “could not have been too serious”, based on the only available medical report he had, of the June incident.


Category: Hong Kong

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