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法政匯思就 7.21 暴徒於元朗發動襲擊的聲明

2019/7/25 — 12:08

【法政匯思就2019年7月21日暴徒於元朗發動襲擊的聲明】

<Statement of the Progressive Lawyers Group on the 21 July Mob Attacks in Yuen Long> (please scroll for English)

1. 7月21日深夜,過百名穿白衫、持棍棒和藤條的男人,在元朗港鐵站及附近發動襲擊。行兇者對在場手無寸鐵的乘客和途人進行無差別攻擊。事件導致最少45人受傷,包括記者、一位立法會議員及一位孕婦。多名傷者頭部受重創,而身上滿佈傷口、瘀傷及由藤條擊傷而成的傷痕。

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2. 是次暴力襲撃間歇持續近兩小時,期間一直無任何警察在場。錄影顯示,兩名警員據稱接獲999報案求助後數分鐘內到場,但並無作出任何行動便離開。

3. 穿白衫人士在上述襲擊發生後集結於附近圍村,防暴警察到場包圍,但無作出任何行動,即使部分穿白衫人士揮動棍棒指向附近記者,而警員被目睹位處其身旁。再者,穿白衫人士在警方目送下離開圍村,而警方當晚未有拘捕任何人士。

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4. 一名元朗區議會議員後來透露,他在7月21日上午曾聯絡警方,表示元朗可能受到襲擊,而警方向他保證已經有「計劃」處理潛在風險。

5. 因應區內暴力風險,元朗區不少商戶於襲擊翌日都基於安全考慮而提早關門。至7月23日止,警方在飽受抨擊後,終於決定行動並拘捕11名疑犯。

6. 法政匯思強烈譴責警方失職,未能就暴徒襲擊事件作出適當防範及迅速回應。香港市民極度厭惡並且絕不接受暴徒行兇,警方明目張膽置罪惡於不顧使人同樣反感,可說得上為香港法治帶來更嚴重傷害。警方在眾目睽睽下不願保護香港市民和本城的安全,令人焦慮,舉措使商界及國際社會震驚,惹人質疑香港是否仍能被視作國際金融中心。

7. 警方的不作為亦引起對其選擇性執法的極大憂慮。如果比較元朗襲擊和6月12日的「反送中」示威抗議及示威之前的黃昏,可以看出警方對和平及手無寸鐵示威者的處理方式截然不同。當日金鐘站內,年輕人遭警員截停搜身,按指示排隊靠牆壁站立。

8. 此外,警務處處長盧偉聰將7月21日發生的暴徒襲擊僅定性為一宗「暴力襲擊事件」,卻毫不猶豫將6月12日示威者與警方在政府總部發生的衝突定性為「暴動」。

9. 警方對上述事件的態度和行動迥異,使公眾對香港警察的成見與日俱增,質疑警方更重視保護當權者的利益,而不是警察的職責,即保護市民的生命財產。

10. 因應上述各項,法政匯思要求:

10.1 警方立即把所有元朗行兇者繩之於法;

10.2 成立獨立調查委員會,系統性地調查警方的不作為,以及過去數週對警方在各個遊行示威中的行為失當及對市民濫用武力的指控;及

10.3 徹查元朗暴徒襲擊中警員保護市民的角色,包括是否有行為失當或瀆職,並就個別失職警員透過紀律聆訊及/或刑事檢控問責。

11. 法政匯思關注在社交媒體上,有倡議市民應成立不同組織,包括成立社區守望團體及自衛隊,在新界市鎮巡邏,甚至是懲罰元朗行兇者。法政匯思呼籲市民切勿私自執法。任何私自執法都可以使參與者及他人受到傷害及招致刑責。我們認為應集中精力向警方及政府施壓,而不是其他人。

12. 法政匯思再次要求香港政府全面撤回逃犯條例修訂。即使面對暴徒目無法紀的暴行,我們仍要堅守香港的言論和集會自由。即使離恐懼式管治已經不遠,我們必須捍衛核心價值,絕不妥協。

法政匯思
2019 年 7 月 25 日

 

1. More than a hundred men, dressed in white and armed with clubs and canes, stormed the Yuen Long MTR Station and its vicinity overnight on 21 July. The assailants indiscriminately attacked unarmed passengers and passersby. At least 45 people were injured, including journalists, a lawmaker and a pregnant woman. Many of the injured sustained serious head injuries and their bodies were covered in wounds, bruises and cane marks.

2. During the violent attacks, which lasted intermittently for nearly two hours, there was zero Police presence. Shown on footage, two Police officers who reportedly arrived at the station minutes after the first 999 emergency call was made, left the scene without taking any action.

3. When riot Police surrounded the nearby village where the white shirted individuals had gathered after the attacks, they again took no action even though the officers were seen steps away from some of the white shirted individuals as they waved and pointed their clubs at the reporters nearby. Further, the white shirted individuals were seen leaving the village under the watch of the Police and no arrest was made that night.

4. A Yuen Long District Councillor later revealed that he had contacted the Police on the morning of 21 July about the threat of attacks in Yuen Long and that the Police had assured him that they already had “a plan” in place to handle the situation.

5. Expecting more violence in the area, many shops in Yuen Long closed early on the day following the attacks out of safety concerns. After much public criticism, the Police finally decided to take action and had arrested 11 suspects as of 23 July.

6. The Progressive Lawyers Group (the “PLG”) strongly condemns the Police in failing to take timely and appropriate action to prevent and respond to the mob attacks. While gang violence is abhorrent and has no place in our society, the flagrant inaction of the Police is equally repugnant and is arguably far more damaging to Hong Kong’s rule of law. With the Police seen alarmingly reluctant to protect Hong Kong citizens and keep this city safe, the incident has sent shock waves across the business and international communities, leaving one wondering if Hong Kong can still be seen as an international financial centre.

7. The Police inaction also raises serious concerns of their selective law enforcement, if one contrasts what happened in Yuen Long against the treatment of unarmed and peaceful anti-extradition bill protesters on 12 June and the evening before, when young people were subject to body searches by Police officers and were rounded up to stand against the walls at the Admiralty MTR Station.

8. Furthermore, the Police Commissioner Stephen Lo characterized the 21 July mob attacks merely as a “violent attack incident” while having no qualms in referring to the clashes between protesters and the Police at the Government headquarters on 12 June as a “riot”.

9. These differences in Police action and attitude contribute to a growing perception among the general public that the Hong Kong Police prioritizes the interests of those in power over the safety and well-being of the people they are tasked to serve.

10. In light of the foregoing, the PLG demands that:

10.1 the Police bring all the Yuen Long assailants to justice without delay;

10.2 the inaction of the Police be investigated on a systemic level by an independent commission of inquiry, along with other allegations of misconduct and excessive use of force against civilians during various demonstrations in these past weeks; and

10.3 any misconduct/misfeasance of Police officer(s) for inter alia failing to discharge his/her duties to protect members of the public in relation to the Yuen Long mob attacks be investigated and that responsible individual(s) be held accountable via disciplinary and/or criminal proceedings as appropriate.

11. The PLG is aware of the suggestions on social media for civilians to organize various groups, from neighbourhood watches to vigilante groups, to patrol the streets in New Territories towns and even to punish the assailants. The PLG appeals to the general public not to take the law into their own hands. Any such acts of street justice are likely to put those involved and others in harm’s way and expose themselves to criminal liability. We believe efforts should be focused on pressuring the Police and the Government instead.

12. The PLG continues to call on the Hong Kong Government to fully withdraw the extradition bill. In the face of lawless gang violence, we are more committed than ever to safeguarding Hong Kong’s freedom of expression and right of assembly. We shall never compromise our core values because of the attempt to rule by fear.

The Progressive Lawyers Group
25 July 2019

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