A pro-Beijing lawmaker said yesterday that she supported an independent inquiry into police conduct over the past six months, claiming it would exonerate the force of accusations of gratuitous violence and misconduct, while also controversially dismissing out of hand allegations of sexual assault committed by police against detainees.
The remarks — made by DAB member Ann Chiang after pro-democracy lawmakers filed an ultimately unsuccessful motion at the Legislative Council to impeach Chief Executive Carrie Lam — left many netizens in the unfamiliar position of agreeing with a pro-Beijing rival on one hand, while condemning the substance of some of her remarks on the other.
Stand News reports that during the session, Chiang, who didn’t support the impeachment motion, voiced her support for an independent inquiry into police brutality against protesters — which is one of anti-government protesters’ five key demands — on the grounds that it would clear the force’s name after months of accusations of excessive use of force.
She then went on to list a handful of cases in which protesters have claimed, often without evidence, police involvement in protesters’ wrongful deaths, including the case of Chan Yin-lam, a 15-year-old whose body was found floating in the sea near Yau Tong in September; Chow Tsz-lok, the 22-year-old student who died days after suffering a fall in a parking garage in Tseung Kwan O; and the still-unsubstantiated claims of protesters beaten to death at Prince Edward MTR station on Aug. 31.
She also, however, included the case of the Chinese University of Hong Kong student who tearfully alleged during a public forum that she was sexually assaulted while in detention at Kwai Fong police station, also on Aug. 31.
“I think there needs to be an independent inquiry so that the police’s innocence will be restored,” she said in her at-times forceful remarks. (Chiang has been jokingly referred to in the past as Yuen Qiu,” after the actress who played the superhumanly loud landlady in the Stephen Chow film Kung Fu Hustle.)
“In the last 10 or so years, I’ve never heard of an incident of a police officer raping someone inside a police station.”
It was funny that she should mention that time period, given that right around 10 years ago, a police officer was convicted of doing just that — something netizens were quick to point out.
“Ann, haven’t you heard about the Mong Kok police station case?” one asked.
Back in 2009, a former police officer was sentenced to 12 years in jail for raping one teenager, and molesting three other young women inside the Mong Kok police station the year before, according to the SCMP. Leung Lai-chung pleaded guilty to four charges of indecent assault, one of rape, and one of perverting the course of justice for calling his victims to the station on the pretext of discussing cases they were involved in, only to take them into a back room and sexually assault them.
While some criticized Chiang for her apparent ignorance of the case, (“do your homework first, Ann!” said one commenter), others found themselves in the unusual position of agreeing with Chiang.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is the first time I’m agreeing with Yuen Qiu,” said one person. “Who would have thought that Yuen Qiu would be talking sense! Support for an independent inquiry into police violence!”
“Who would have thought that Ann was secretly yellow?!” said another person, referring to the color used to denote those who support the pro-democracy side.
Chiang is certainly no pro-dem darling, and has courted controversy in the past, likening pro-democracy lawmakers to mental patients and saying that asylum seekers should be held on Hong Kong’s outlying islands.
She also drew flak in July for claiming in a now-deleted Facebook post that Civil Human Rights Front convenor Jimmy Sham, who is openly gay, was being dishonest by “deliberately hiding” his sexual orientation. The accusation prompted Sham to hit back with a complaint to the Equal Opportunities Commission, saying that he had actually been out for years.