HONG KONG • A Hong Kong pro-democracy protester allegedly assaulted by police in a beating captured on video has said he has himself been charged with attacking officers, in a new twist to a heavily criticised case.
Seven Hong Kong police officers were also charged yesterday, with one joint count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, while one officer was also charged with one count of common assault, a police spokesman said yesterday. The officers will appear in court next Monday.
It comes one year to the day since the attack on Civic Party activist Ken Tsang, footage of which was beamed around the world at the height of mass protests in the city.
Tsang, 40, yesterday angrily dubbed the charges as "unreasonable and ridiculous". "They are trying to divert attention from the police officers being charged," he told reporters, adding that there was no basis for the charges. "I feel that the government is just trying to make a stand by arresting me," he said.
Tsang reported to a police station in central Hong Kong yesterday and said he was served with five charges, one for assaulting police and four for resisting police.
He said he had been given no details of the incidents the charges referred to, except that they all took place on Oct 15 last year, the night he was beaten. He was released on bail and is also due in court next Monday.
Tsang's lawyer Michael Vidler said the fact that his client would appear in court at the same time as his suspected attackers was "indicative of the fact they want to blacken his name". "When you go to court and there is coverage of these seven officers, you will also be reporting these multiple charges against my client," he told reporters.
Hong's Kong Department of Justice later said the assault charge was brought because Tsang "splashed liquid from a plastic container" onto police and had then obstructed officers by resisting arrest. It added the officers Tsang allegedly splashed were not those accused of subsequently attacking him.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS