Carrie Lam on Tuesday brushed aside a new wave of criticism of aggressive policing, saying as the Chief Executive, it is not right to give an opinion on the actual operation on the ground.
She also said anyone unhappy with officers’ action could file a complaint which will be investigated fully.
Lam made the remarks on Tuesday at a media briefing, when reporters asked her for response over several incidents which caught international attention after officers were filmed pinning down a 12-year-old girl on the streets of Mong Kok on Sunday.
The girl's family said she was out to buy some crayons with her brother when the incident happened. The police said later they used only reasonable force, and the girl and her brother were fined HK$2,000 each for breaching social distancing rules.
On the same day, a New World First Bus driver was arrested after he honked at officers in Mong Kok, where a protest was held against the postponement of the Legislative Council elections.
Police arrested the driver for alleged dangerous driving, saying his driving attitude was “very dangerous” and his “provocative” action and “unreasonable” honking affected the work of officers.
The driver was also arrested on suspicion of possessing a spanner, a tool which a bus union subsequently explained was often carried around by drivers used to fix the rear view mirror.
“Now about the actual law-enforcement activities of the law-enforcement agencies, including the Hong Kong Police Force, one has to look at the actual circumstances," Lam said.
“It would not be right for the Chief Executive to give an opinion on the actual operation on the ground, except to assure you that every incident and every complaint in terms of the actions taken by the law-enforcement agencies will be fully investigated,” she added.
Any members of the public who’s not pleased with the law-enforcement agencies could file a complaint, said Lam.
Lam was also asked to respond to criticism that the government is suppressing freedom of speech following the arrest of People Power’s Tam Tak-chi for "uttering seditious words" under a colonial-era section of the Crimes Ordinance.
“There isn’t a distinction between the age of a law, so to speak, whether a law is pre-1997 or post-1997. If the law is still valid, then it is a law that could be deployed under certain circumstances,” Lam said. “The particular incident that you referred to is exactly in accordance with that arrangement.”
“Yes, we uphold the freedoms and rights enjoyed by Hong Kong people under the Basic Law, and the relevant provisions in the international covenants as applied to Hong Kong. But one would have to realise that whether in the international covenants or the Bill of Rights Ordinance, exercising of some of the rights is not without limit,” she contended.
For example, she said legislation is in place to limit freedom of speech when it comes to safeguarding national security, ensuring public order, protecting public health and safeguarding “the rights and reputation of another person".