Three police officers were jailed for between 17 and 32 months on Friday over an attack on a man in his 60s while he was tied to a hospital bed.
Two of the officers physically and sexually assaulted Chung Chi-wah, 62, at North District Hospital in June last year, slapping his face, prodding him with batons and punching him in the genitals.
Au Kwok-wai, 26, and Tang Man-him, 25, pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office, while their colleague Lam Yik-sing, 31 – who failed to stop the assault – was found guilty of the same charge.
Au received 32 months behind bars, Tang 31 months, and Lam 17 months. District Court judge Johnny Chan said he deducted one month from the sentence he was going to give Tang because the officer had been doxxed by online trolls.
The police had arrested Chung for injuring an officer as well as a bystander while he was drunk in Sheung Shui. He was taken to a psychiatric ward at North District Hospital where CCTV captured the officers' subsequent attack on him.
The judge said such “extra-judicial punishment has no place in Hong Kong” and it cannot be condoned, especially when police are supposed to protect the public.
He rejected the officers' claim that they were under immense pressure at the time, noting that Chung's arrest had nothing to do with last year's social unrest.
The judge said Lam had been the victim's only lifeline, but he just walked away as his colleagues carried out their attack which caused Chung excruciating pain.
Former Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, who has been helping the victim's family, said they don't believe the punishments can compensate Chung for the pain he suffered.
"Indeed the victim is suffering from mental problems right now, psychological problems. And the sons of the victim said that the sentence cannot help their father to overcome the damage," he said.
"We urge the police force, especially the commissioner, to publicly apologise for the wrongdoing of those evil police officers and to compensate the victim reasonably."
The ex-lawmaker added that in March, the courts will hear a civil claim case raised by the victim against the police officers.
Police said one of the three officers has been suspended, one quit, and the other was sacked. The force said it places a great deal of emphasis on the conduct of officers and seriously follows up on any illegal acts.