Security Secretary John Lee has said there are no plans to ban officers from using chokeholds when detaining suspects, despite concerns raised by opposition lawmakers following the death of a man a day after police restrained him by kneeling on his neck.
Answering a question from Chu Hoi-dick during a Legco meeting, Lee said in the case of the deceased man, no bone fractures were found and the cause of his death needs to be ascertained.
The minister said officers need to apply force the lowest level of force, when it’s necessary and is the only means available.
Anyone injured during arrest will be treated, he said, and if officers break the law, violate police guidelines, or misuse force, management will follow up.
Any aggrieved party can make a complaint which will be looked into in a fair and impartial manner, he added.
Lee also said Hong Kong police should be thanked for handling protests much better than foreign countries, pointing out that no protester has died in the city as a result of law enforcement action since widespread anti-government protests started in June 2019.
But opposition lawmaker Chu said later that officers should at least temporarily stop the tactics of kneeling on suspects.
“If it is finally proven that the death was not related to that restraint, maybe it is ok for [the secretary] to say so,” he said. Right now I think nobody in Hong Kong can say that the… chokehold approach is safe in restraining protesters or citizens.”