Hong Kong police could face torture case in UK court

Torture has allegedly been carried out in police stations and on the streets, with a specific incident cited at Hong Kong’s Citic Tower during protests in June 2019. — Reuters pic
Torture has allegedly been carried out in police stations and on the streets, with a specific incident cited at Hong Kong’s Citic Tower during protests in June 2019. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Aug 10 — Senior British officers in the Hong Kong police force could face legal action in the UK on torture charges after activists said today they planned to proceed with a private prosecution.

The expatriate officers are accused of directly engaging in torture against pro-democracy demonstrators, or directing others within the force to carry out the crimes.

Torture has allegedly been carried out in police stations and on the streets, with a specific incident cited at Hong Kong’s Citic Tower during protests in June 2019.

The prosecution is being brought by a team of prominent activists and lawyers, who are using a JustGiving page to try and raise £200,000 (RM1.01 million) to employ a full-time legal team.

They says the prosecution can be carried out in London as torture is an offence which has universal jurisdiction under British law.

“The people of Hong Kong have suffered sustained brutality at the hands of the Hong Kong Police Force,” said Luke de Pulford, a member of the human rights group, Hong Kong Watch. 

“Despite clear evidence of excessive force, no officer has been disciplined. Many of those officers are British, and as such, they are subject to British law.”

None of the officers who could face prosecution have been named.

However, the group bringing the prosecution claim three of the six Hong Kong regional commander police posts are filled by British nationals, who were installed just before former the colonial power handed the territory over to the Chinese. 

Another of those trying to bring about the prosecution is Nathan Law, a young democracy activist who recently fled to London from Hong Kong after China imposed a controversial security law on the territory in June.

The law was introduced to quell widespread and often violent pro-democracy protests, sparking criticism from Western nations and sanctions from the United States.

The legal action, if it goes ahead, will be led by London-based lawyers Edmunds Marshall McMahon, which describes itself as the “only specialist private prosecution law firm” in the country. — AFP 

Hong Kong police could face torture case in UK court