Retired police superintendent Frankly Chu on Friday lost his High Court appeal against his conviction and three-month prison sentence for assaulting an innocent passer-by during the 2014 Occupy protests.
He was taken into custody to serve the remainder of his prison term, having been on bail for the appeal, with the judge lamenting that Chu had set a very bad example to his subordinates and had shown no remorse for his actions.
Chu was caught on video striking Osman Cheng on the back of his neck with his police baton, leaving his victim injured.
Chu, 58, had claimed that he was confronted by a hostile crowd on Nathan Road in Mong Kok and had only used “appropriate and restrained” force. He also said during his trial last year that he had seen Cheng acting aggressively towards another officer.
But the High Court rejected Chu’s appeal against the assault conviction and the three-month term imposed by a magistrate in January. The court also refused to admit new video footage that his legal team had claimed would help put the whole incident into context.
Justice Albert Wong said in a written judgement that he considered the findings and conclusion of the trial magistrate reasonable and sufficiently supported by evidence.
He said that after watching the video evidence, he agreed with the magistrate that Cheng had not been aggressive, and that Chu had intended to use unlawful force.
“Excessive force cannot be used,” the judge said, adding “otherwise it would justify shooting someone who was merely threatening to throw a punch”.
Wong concluded that the conviction was “neither unsafe nor unsatisfactory”.
The judge also said that Chu had not shown any genuine remorse, so there was no reason to suspend the jail term imposed on him, or replace it with a community service order.
He said Chu had “sadly” failed to meet public expectations and had “set a very bad example to his subordinates”.
Chu appeared calm as he was escorted out of the courtroom by guards.
Members of the pro-establishment Treasure Group, the Voice of Loving Hong Kong and the Alliance In support of Our Police gathered outside the court building ahead of the ruling to show their support for Chu, saying he had done nothing wrong.
After the ruling was announced, they held up banners that read "injustice" in Chinese.
Chu's case had garnered widespread media attention long before it reached court after an internal police complaints unit cleared him of any wrongdoing, despite the police watchdog insisting an assault had likely taken place.
Following his conviction last December, Chu’s supporters launched personal attacks against Eastern Court magistrate Bina Chainrai, calling her a "dog" and demanding that only Chinese judges should be allowed in Hong Kong’s courts.
Last updated: 2018-09-14 HKT 17:10