Former Hong Kong police jailed for baton assault

A former senior Hong Kong police officer, Frankly Chu, who assaulted passersby with baton during the late 2014 pro-democracy protests, has been jailed three months.

Retired superintendent  Chu, 58, was jailed on Wednesday for assault during the city’s massive protests.

The “Umbrella Movement” demonstrations which occupied major roads and demanded, in vain, full democracy for the former British colony, was one of the most direct populist challenges to Beijing’s Communist Party leaders since the city came under Chinese rule in 1997.

During the civil disobedience movement that ran for 79 straight days, protesters, sometimes numbering in their thousands, faced off repeatedly with the police who used batons, tear gas and pepper spray — drawing some criticism for the excessive use of force.

Chu showed no obvious emotion when principal magistrate Bina Chainrai sentenced him to four months jail for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

This was mitigated to three months given his retirement and the unlikelihood of him reoffending.

Chainrai said the sentence was necessary so that public confidence in the police force could be maintained and that the police had a “duty to uphold standards”.

Chu was filmed hitting a man on the neck with a baton during a protest in the Mong Kok district in 2014, targeting what some deemed to be a high-risk part of the body.

Police officers patrol outside a court where retired superintendent Frankly Chu was given a jail term in Hong Kong, China January 3, 2018.

Chu, however, said during the trial that his use of force had been appropriate and that he was carrying out orders from his superiors to move protesters away from that area.

Chu’s lawyer, Peter Pannu, said his client would appeal.

A Hong Kong court last February also sentenced seven policemen to two years behind bars for beating a handcuffed activist during the 2014 protests. The seven have been released on bail pending appeal.

The assaults by the seven policemen, and Chu, were captured on video and widely broadcast, triggering public outrage and tarnishing the reputation of the Hong Kong police force that has sometimes been dubbed “Asia’s finest”.

Read more: Reuters

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