Cops under fire again over human blocks

Local | Jane Cheung Apr 17, 2018
The three car owners who were used as human roadblocks by the police on Fanling Highway in February sought help from the Complaints Against Police Office as legislators lashed out at the police for violating their own guidelines.

Speaking on a radio program yesterday, Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said all three victims had their vehicles seized by police in their bid to intercept a target vehicle. The chase left two dead and six people injured.

The three car owners subsequently received a notice of intended prosecution and they questioned the rationale behind it.

One of the victims, surnamed Cheng, said yesterday he received the notice two to three days after the incident and felt helpless.

"I helped police catch the thief, but I still risk being prosecuted," he said.

He said he was infuriated with Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung's explanation, in which he said issuing the notice was normal procedure.

"Lo said the force always put citizens' safety as the top priority, but it isn't true at all," he said.

Cheng said all three of them risked their lives in helping the police, adding his car was only two weeks old.

"I was lucky to have insurance to replace my damaged car with a new one, but I need to pay double or triple the price for the insurance of my new car," he said.

Cheng also criticised the police for remaining silent on compensation.

To said the police amended their guidelines in 2009 after a similar incident in Kwun Tong.

Police stopped cars on Kwun Tong Bypass and formed a "human" roadblock to intercept vehicles in an illegal street race.

Then-police chief Tang King-shing made a public apology. The program host said the police general order prohibits officers from using citizens' vehicles to block a suspect vehicle, unless there is an overwhelming urge to seize the target vehicle.

To said the incident in 2009 proved the use of "human" roadblocks to be inappropriate.

"If police wanted to seize the target vehicle, police officers should form the human roadblocks themselves," he said.

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