The chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council, Anthony Neoh, has dismissed suggestions that members of its international expert panel have "quit", saying they have simply completed the initial phase of their work.
The panel earlier issued a statement saying it would "formally stand aside from its role" due to the "crucial shortfall in the powers, capacity and independent investigative capability of the IPCC".
But Neoh said the experts had told him that they would still be happy to work with the police watchdog after an interim report on Hong Kong's turmoil is submitted and made public in the near future.
The IPCC head said while he had reflected the panel’s views to the government on the need for more investigatory powers, it would be difficult to follow up on their suggestion as the priority right now is to gather the necessary facts and produce the interim report, which is to cover protest-related events up to July 1.
Neoh added that while the situation isn’t 100 percent ideal, he doesn’t feel the probe has been undermined by a lack of investigatory powers.
He said that in general, the police and various government departments have been co-operative, but conceded that the watchdog has been unable to obtain information from the Hospital Authority due to privacy concerns.
Neoh also told reporters that while he agrees there is a need to reform the IPCC, he doesn’t have any concrete thoughts on how to go about doing so.