A report in the South China Morning Post Monday claimed that the Hong Kong police in cracking down on demonstrations are grabbing innocent bystanders and arresting them without due process.

The report notes that the police are accusing people who are there to document the events, or even just observing, of participating in “unlawful assemblies.”

The Post notes that in some cases people are being imprisoned for days without being granted legal counsel:

Among those affected was former marine police officer and retired pilot Jan Bochenski, 62, who was arrested earlier this month for joining an “unlawful assembly” in Sai Wan, his own neighbourhood.

He said he spent 30 hours in custody and had to wait for four hours to phone his wife and another four hours before he could speak to his lawyer despite multiple requests to officers.


— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 26, 2019

Bochenski says that police were acting like a curfew had been imposed, regardless of the fact that no order was ever given:

“There were young people, a pizza delivery boy, an Indian chef in his uniform, a mother and her son – normal people you see on a Sunday night walking down this area … there is no curfew, how can it be an unlawful assembly?” Bochenski said, adding that he was taken away after officers confirmed he was not a tourist.

He was then left standing for hours in a cell shared with 14 other detainees in Cheung Sha Wan Police Station. Bochenski, who said he was the first of those held to ask to make a phone call to his family and a lawyer, was only able to meet his lawyer at 4.30am. He said the lawyer had been sitting in the station waiting for hours. His other request to speak to the British consulate was ignored.

Several lawyers recalled similar experiences and said officers appeared reluctant to cooperate in some cases.

Further accounts from people on the ground have suggested that police are cracking down on journalists, including Americans, taking photos of the events.

Two men who are visiting from the US were arrested in Tsuen Wan after they took photos of the police. One is a freelance journalist, the other is a photography professor. The police asked them for press IDs; they didn’t have them (which aren’t required by law, by the way). 1/

— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 25, 2019

They asked for their passports; they didn’t have them either. They searched them and their bags, then made them sit in a van for 30 minutes. They were then taken to the police station for 2 hours. They were accused of “illegal immigration”. 2/

— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 25, 2019

They were driven separately to the places where they were staying in Wan Chai to produce their passports. One said: “It was a total sham. I think they were just bored or trying to save face.” Will update with more details as I get them. 3/

— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 25, 2019

Same man: “I think my arresting officer felt a little bad because he knew the charges were bullshit.” He knew it was illegal not to have his passport, but still felt like it was “mild harassment”. He maintains the police were professional after the initial confrontation. 4/

— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 25, 2019

Small detail to add: the other man did show his US driver’s licenses, as well. 5/

— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 25, 2019

In case it gets buried, repeating this info here. By Hong Kong law (see below), you do have to carry “proof of identity” on you at all times. But there is no law requiring journalists to have press credentials. 6/

Police: https://t.co/NuQRnQeFKL


— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 25, 2019

The men were given case numbers, but it wasn’t clear if they were charged. The police let the men go after they drove them to where they were staying and they were able to produce their passports. 7/

— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 25, 2019

Making sure this is seen in the main thread: 8/ https://t.co/xQ5P10Mm58

— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) August 26, 2019

Police in Hong Kong are randomly arresting unarmed citizens. They will “disappear” in mainland China once extradited. Understand why protesters are terrified for each other and fighting back. pic.twitter.com/6fB49N07AP

— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 26, 2019

“Far-right” because they happen to not want to be taken over by the authoritarian government of the People’s Republic of China. Why don’t you visit and ask the protesters yourself what they believe in? Coward. https://t.co/XMth9YCVht

— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 26, 2019

Hong Kong police have claimed that protesters are causing violence, and that officers are showing restraint.

“I must emphasize the officers demonstrated great restraint. Their use of force was indeed necessary and reasonable. It was to protect any person, including our officers themselves, from death or serious bodily injury,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Operations Mak Chin Ho on Monday.

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