Hong Kong police called ‘brainless’ after telling injured people they ‘used as human shield’ they may be prosecuted

The car that police were chasing hit three cars and flipped over.
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Three injured people whom Hong Kong police allegedly used as human shields in a fatal car chase have been told they may be prosecuted, it was revealed on Friday.

James To Kun-sun, the lawmaker who disclosed the news to the Legislative Council, condemned the force as “brainless” at a security panel scrutinising the chase, which killed two people and injured four on Fanling Highway in February.

The force was criticised at the time for using at least three passing vehicles to help stop the pursued car, by ordering the drivers to slow down. Lawmakers back then said the police appeared to have compromised public safety by using such a “human shield”.

The crash on Fanling Highway killed two people and injured four others.
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To, of the Democratic Party, revealed on Friday that the police had issued formal notices of intended prosecution to the injured civilians, even as one of them was still in hospital recovering from the crash that ended the chase.

“The officers claimed it was just a routine procedure. How do you think these civilians should feel about it? They were hospitalised because of your chase and you issued such a notice of intended prosecution. Are you brainless?” he said.

“Are you brainless?,” legislator James To asked Hong Kong Police.
South China Morning Post/K.Y. Cheng

The revelation caused consternation among the rest of the panel. Deputy security minister Sonny Au Chi-kwong and Martin Cadman, chief superintendent at the police’s traffic headquarters, did not have an opportunity to respond.

To told the Post after the meeting that the force had issued the notices after taking statements from the officers. The notice recipients had sought his help, he said.

“I asked police for a meeting on the issue but they refused. This is ridiculous,” he said.

A police insider with knowledge of the matter confirmed that the notices were issued and said the officers had acted in accordance with the Road Traffic Ordinance.

“We normally issue the notice to the concerned parties within 14 working days of the incident, to inform them that they are allegedly involved in a suspected crime case, so they won’t erase any evidence,” the source said.

“It does not necessarily lead to a prosecution. We commonly issue such notices to anyone involved in a crime case.”

The Post contacted the police for an official comment.

To said at the meeting: “I have a lot of respect for police officers who risk their lives to catch thieves. This is their duty and a sense of calling. But it is wrong to ask a civilian to help police work by using his or her own life. This is unfair.”

The pursuit began after traffic police officers spotted the seven-seater car changing lanes recklessly on San Tin Highway in the New Territories two months ago, cutting in front of other vehicles at speed.

The car wove between other vehicles before hitting three cars and a large road divider.
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Suspecting the driver might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an officer on a motorbike tried to pull him over. But the driver sped off, prompting police to give chase.

The car wove between other vehicles along Fanling Highway before hitting three cars and a large road divider near Dawning Views residential estate, and flipping over.

The driver, 37, was confirmed dead after being pulled from the vehicle. His passenger was rushed to hospital, where he was also confirmed dead.

Two men and a woman, in two of the cars asked to slow down, were injured. The officer was also hurt.

In March, the police established a review committee, chaired by Cadman, to examine guidelines on stopping vehicles, setting up roadblocks and pursuing vehicles.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

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