Eight Hong Kong police officers have been barred from setting foot in a park where they allegedly assaulted a street sleeper, framed another for drug possession and damaged the property of many others last year.
The prohibition order was among four bail conditions imposed on the six men and two women as they made their first court appearance on Wednesday to face 10 charges relating to events said to have taken place at Tung Chau Street Park in Sham Shui Po – a site frequented by street sleepers – between Feb 4 and May 21.
Eastern Court heard the charges ranged from assault to misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.
But none of the officers were required to enter pleas before Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai, as prosecutors revealed plans to move the case to the higher District Court, where they could face a stiffer maximum sentence of up to seven years.
Court documents showed constables Kwok Chin-Sing, 30, Leung Fei Pang, 29, and Chan Sau Yip, 27, were charged with one joint count of inflicting grievous bodily harm over the alleged assault of Nguyen Van Son.
Kwok was further charged with two counts of criminal damage for allegedly breaking Nguyen’s black plastic box and a list of other items belonging to unidentified individuals at the park.
The other damaged property included a packet of rice, nine tins of canned food, two plastic boxes and a plastic chest with drawers.
Meanwhile, constable Hon Ting Kwong, 29, was said to have “wilfully, intentionally and culpably misconducted himself” by failing to stop the alleged assault and property damage, and arrest his colleagues.
Leung was also accused of perverting the course of public justice, alongside Chan, constable Pong Chun Sze, 29, and Sergeant Lam Wah Ka, 44, for covering up, or attempting to cover up CCTV cameras to prevent them from capturing the scene.
Lam also faced a second count of the same charge, together with constables Mok Chi Shing and Wan Pak Sze, both 25, for allegedly making false allegations in their notebooks or witness statements to frame Le Van Muoi with the offence of possession of dangerous drugs.
The case was adjourned until Feb 2, pending the preparation of transfer papers and the relevant case files to move the case to the higher court.
All eight officers were released on cash bail of HK$1,000 (S$170) each on the condition that they reside in their given addresses, notify police of any change in place of residence and not contact any of the 45 prosecution witnesses.
They were also barred from entering Tung Chau Street Park.
Separately, at Kwun Tong Court, police officer Au Kar Man, 46, was ordered by Magistrate Joseph To Ho Shing to raise a cash bail of HK$10,000 in 24 hours to secure her release upon being charged with two counts of conspiracy to deal with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence.
Prosecutors said Au conspired with a man known as Mercel to handle more than HK$570,000 in alleged criminal proceeds between Oct 15, 2019 and Feb 18, 2020.
Au was not required to enter a plea.
The case was adjourned until March 1, pending legal advice.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.