Police force, watchdog to probe June 12 clashes - RTHK
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Police force, watchdog to probe June 12 clashes

2019-06-18 HKT 18:55
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  • There has been a furious reaction from many people in Hong Kong over the police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at extradition bill protesters last Wednesday. File photo: AFP
    There has been a furious reaction from many people in Hong Kong over the police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at extradition bill protesters last Wednesday. File photo: AFP
Anthony Neoh
Hong Kong's police force and the watchdog which monitors the way complaints against officers are handled have both announced they are setting up special teams to look into how extradition bill protesters were cleared from the streets of Admiralty last week with rubber bullets, bean bag rounds and tear gas.

The police have been dogged by accusations of brutality and an excessive use of force over the clashes on June 12 which put dozens of people in hospital.

The force's director of management services, Edwina Lau, said a team of 13 investigators with no links to the clearance operation will look into how the protest was handled.

She said the force's internal complaints unit has so far received 34 reports alleging inappropriate behaviour by officers, while the Hong Kong Journalists Association has filed 27 additional claims of abuse.

Despite stressing that the investigators will be neutral when looking into the clashes, Lau said an event can be classified as a "riot" if just one person in a crowd disrupts social order.

The police had said that five of the more than 30 people arrested over the clashes were suspected of riot-related offences.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council, Anthony Neoh, said his watchdog will compile its own report into the disturbances.

"We will be looking at all the complaints, plus in fact, what we call the notifiable complaints. Notifiable complaints are made by people who are not directly involved, but see things that should be corrected," Neoh said.

He added that the aim is not just to punish people, but to ensure that "the police serve the public in a better way in the future".