Warning: Distressing Content
Two police officers in Hong Kong have been arrested on suspicion of assault over the beating of a handcuffed man in hospital.
Shocking footage of the incident, which occurred on June 26, has since been released by a city legislator who raised concerns about the treatment of the public by authorities in the region.
The video shows two officers hitting a 62-year-old man in the genitals, stomach and face repeatedly as he lies on a hospital gurney unable to move.
You can watch the appalling footage below:
In the eight minutes of security camera footage of the incident – which was not related to the protest movement currently sweeping the city – the man can be seen strapped to a hospital gurney in North District Hospital, Sheung Shui, with two uniformed police officers standing over him.
Within just 10 seconds, one of the officers uses violence against the man, appearing to slap him across the face before the other gets involved, both using their batons and fists to beat him.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, the victim – whose surname is Chung – had been arrested for assaulting police at approximately 11pm the night before, according to lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting.
Chung reportedly told his family after the attack that the officers had said to him, ‘this is what black cops do,’ while beating him.
The chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch, Tse Chun-chung, confirmed two officers had been arrested on Tuesday afternoon (August 20) for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. They have also been placed under investigation, after which they will be suspended.
Tse said in a statement, as per the South China Morning Post:
Police will not turn a blind eye to violence, especially for officers deliberately breaking the law.
Chung’s sons filed a complaint to police days after the incident, after their dad reportedly complained of a broken ring finger and pain in his genitals, although Tse confirmed police have still not reached out to the hospital regarding the footage.
The chief superintendent denied the force had failed to do its job, saying they will ‘approach the hospital later’ with regards to the surveillance cameras.
Lam Cheuk-ting condemned the officers for bringing even more shame to the police force, particularly in the wake of protests in the city which have recently intensified and resulted in accusations of police brutality after police started using batons, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and tear gas against protesters.
The Democratic Party politician said there was ‘no reason’ for the officers to ‘abuse their power to torture the victim’ and to ‘humiliate him so seriously’, pondering whether this incident was only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ with regards to police brutality and whether anti-government protesters might have faced similar treatment.
As per The Guardian, this week marks the 11th week of mass protests – which began as a result of a controversial extradition bill that would grant China greater powers but have since expanded to protest police violence among other things – most of which have ended in violent clashes between police and protesters.
The violence has intensified in the past few weeks, with hundreds of people arrested since June, although Sunday (August 18) marked the first peaceful protest in the region. An estimated 1.7 million protesters staged the peaceful rally, which had minimal police presence with no arrests made.
Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam used this as an opportunity to offer a platform for dialogue with citizens and tackle complaints against the police but this was dismissed by activists as a ‘trap’.
Further protests are planned for the next few days with demonstrators promising to escalate their actions once more if the government does not properly address their concerns.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).