HONG KONG: Statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association on the Use of Force by the Hong Kong Police at Harcourt Road on 28 September 2014

1. The Hong Kong Bar Association (“HKBA”) is deeply disturbed by, and deplores and condemns, the excessive and disproportionate use of force by the Hong Kong Police on demonstrators gathering at Harcourt Road in the afternoon of28 September 2014.

2. The circumstances in which the Hong Kong Police commenced the use of CS gas on demonstrators gathering at Harcourt Road in the afternoon of28 September 2014 were well documented in the local and international media.  Even though on occasions, a minority of demonstrators became   confrontational    with   the   police,    the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators were visibly conducting themselves peacefully.     Many demonstrators were young students. There had also been widespread reports of absence of display of visual signs before the use of CS gas.

3. There can be scope for disagreement on the underlying political debate   or   demands   leading   to the   demonstration. Some demonstrators may have committed criminal offences during the course of the demonstration. However, none of the above matters can justify the use of excessive or disproportionate force by the Police against unarmed civilians as a matter of law and common decency.  Even  after  giving  due  allowance  to  the  professional judgment of the  police  force in the maintenance of public order and the  prevention of public disorder in a difficult and delicate situation,  the  HKBA  still considers  that  there  was  plainly  no justification to commence the use of CS gas against peaceful demonstrators, let alone repeated, systematic, indiscriminate and excessive use of CS gas. The escalation in the use of force by the Hong Kong police in such circumstances was uncalled for, disproportionate, excessive and had unnecessarily   aggravated public feelings of resentment and frustration.

Dated 29 September 2014.


Document Type : Forwarded Statement
Document ID : AHRC-FST-074-2014
Countries : Hong Kong,
Issues : Judicial system, Rule of law,