HK protests: police watchdog can review force’s handling of unrest, court rules

17-Apr-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong’s police watchdog is empowered to review the force’s handling of anti-government protests, a court has ruled.

Justice Keith Yeung Kar-hung on Thursday ruled against social worker and activist Hendrick Lui Chi-hang, who applied for a judicial review arguing that the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) had gone beyond its statutory powers by proactively starting a study into the civil unrest triggered last summer by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Hong Kong’s beleaguered government has relied on the IPCC as the key channel to hold police accountable, and dismissed protesters’ demand for an independent judge-led commission of inquiry to look into officers’ use of force when handling the protests.

The watchdog announced last July it would conduct a fact-finding study on police conduct during large-scale public order events since June 9, identify areas where police procedures may have been deficient and make recommendations, if necessary.

Paul Harris SC, for Lui, said the Independent Police Complaints Council Ordinance did not provide the IPCC with any express power to conduct proactive investigations, as it is a body for observing, monitoring and reviewing complaints against officers.

But Stewart Wong Kai-ming SC, for the IPCC, said it was “very clear” that the fact-finding exercise was “totally different” from what one would expect of an independent investigation because it did not involve adjudication or draw conclusions as to what happened in the events under scrutiny.


Category: Hong Kong

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