Arrest of medics 'unheard of in civilised countries' - RTHK
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Arrest of medics 'unheard of in civilised countries'

2019-11-22 HKT 11:53
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  • Volunteer medical workers gathered up supplies as they got ready to leave Polytechnic University on Tuesday. File photo: AP
    Volunteer medical workers gathered up supplies as they got ready to leave Polytechnic University on Tuesday. File photo: AP
A Hong Kong surgeon who says he was part of a medical team at Polytechnic University when violent clashes erupted on Sunday has accused the police of adopting strategies that were "unheard of in civilised countries".

In a letter to The Lancet medical journal, Darren Mann said the police action of arresting emergency medical volunteers has a chilling effect that could deter other would-be volunteers from offering their services.

"The arrest of these personnel is almost unheard of in civilised countries and is incompatible with the compact of humanitarianism," he wrote.

Mann said he left the campus on Sunday night, before police placed a cordon around the university.

"We subsequently learned that a group following us (comprising doctors, nurses and paramedics) had been arrested at the police cordon line after leaving the campus," he wrote.

Mann said he later saw a photograph showing at least 16 people in high-visibility vests and labelled as medical personnel being detained for rioting.

The letter also accused the police of misleading the public with a claim they had invited the Red Cross to intervene and help injured protesters on campus.

Mann said he called both Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres early on Monday morning to seek their help, as social media messages circulated about injured students unable to receive care.

He said police had said they had intelligence that some protesters were masquerading as doctors.

"This is doubtful since all doctors were in possession of their Medical Council of Hong Kong registration details and identity cards. At least five doctors are known to have been arrested and detained by police for more than 24 hours," he wrote.