Request International Court of Justice to Investigate Unlawful Force of HongKong Police

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(Update on 21/10/2019)


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We are writing to request the International Court of Justice(ICJ) to formally Investigate Hong Kong Police for Unlawful Use of Force against Citizens since 9 June 2019

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are writing to request the ICJ to formally investigate police brutality against citizens of Hong Kong in the recent protests.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong took to the street in recent days to protest amid the controversial Extradition Bill. In the latest rounds of the protest, the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) has been using excessive level of violence and firearms against citizens who participated in peaceful protests. Confirmed crowd control weapons and ammunition in use including 
batons, pepper spray, rubber bullets, sponge grenades, live bullets, water cannon, tear gas. The sole purpose of this level of extreme violence “intent to injure”. It is believed to be a direct and flagrant violation the “UN Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.”  Many unarmed protesters have been reportedly beaten or shot, some directly in their heads.

Since 9 June, we believe that Hong Kong Police Force had committed the following crimes:

1) Crime of aggression
2) Conventional War Crimes
3) Crimes against Humanities

Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters have sustained for nearly four months. Here are some figures:

1) It is 135 days of unrest since June 9
2) 2,648 protest-related are currently
3) 5,060 tear gas canisters used
4) 11 bullets, 1,830+ rubber bullets, +640 foam bullets and 390+ beanbags bullets were fired.

Record of the Hong Kong Police Brutality are as Follow:

(A) Hong Kong Police Force Investigation Report

(B) Hong Kong Police Violence Database:

(C) Unlawful use of force by Hong Kong Police

(D) Allegations of Hong Kong Police Force misconduct surrounding the 2019 Hong Kong protests

(E) A Report of the 2019 Hong Kong Protest (written by Martin Purbrick, a former Royal Hong Kong Police officer whose service included Special Branch engaged in counter-terrorism intelligence)

Fourteen Unlawful Use of Force by Hong Kong Police Force

1) Shoot and attack both protestors and reporters
Use live bullets dangerously. In October, a teenager was shot by wielding a pipe with live ammo at a point blank range with a revolver.
An Indonesia reporter was shot by police in rubber bullet on the face and become permanently blind in one eye.

2) Unlawful use of batons
Police officers use batons to beat people, no matter they are protestors or uninvolved bystanders. Police would keep beating people with batons while they lay on the ground with no resistence. That was inconsistent with the use of force guidelines that was taught in Police College.

3) Improper use of riot control agents(RCA) - tear gas, pepper spray and water cannon. Use pepper spray on a person who posed no obvious threat is usual.

4) Arbitrary arrests people
The arresting is from age 10 to 82. The police after failing to arrest the radical protesters, turned to arrest peaceful protesters, bystanders, young people in general and people wearing black clothes in young age, and even doctor.

5) Lack of visible identification
During many of the Hong Kong Police operations, the HKPF did not wear any ID badges nor did they produce any warrants. They had infringed the SOP (Standard Operaing Procedure, and neglected the ROE (Rule of Engagement).

6) Restrictions on journalists and medics


7) Brutal beatings, torture and sexual abuse protestors in police detention.
Sexual Abuse in the police’s San Uk Ling Detention Centre (dark terror cell) which is located in an area close to the China-Hong Kong Border. It was reported that some students were tortured after arrest, leaving bone fractures. The police officers in the terror cell was “unnamed”, “unverified” and “unnumbered” and the cell has no cctv systems for recording what happened. The terror cell after the public decry is no longer used for detention.

8) Raptor squad went undercover to target radical Hong Kong protesters These police disguised themselves as protestors. But in reality, they arrest vulnerable target like young girls and boys on the street in the name of action to arrest "extremely violent rioters". These target youngsters were bought into non-police vehicles by the undercover, then disappear without any trace and record.

9) Rumors of police kills people
Since the occurrence of the 8.31 Prince Edward station incident, the "police killing people" rumors have been heard, and there have been many suspicious floating bodies, including Chen Yan-lin, a 15-year-old swimmer who had participated in the anti-Extradiction bill movement. The cause of death is unknown. Although the police denied twice, rumor is still spread.

10) Inconsistent law enforcement

11) Hong Kong becomes a police city In the name of law enforcement, the Hong Kong Police is allowed to extend their action of violence and brutality anywhere, anytime. Off-duty police officers were given telescopic batons and pepper spray for carrying and using when they were off duty.

12) Spreading climate of fear
The Hong Kong Police Force has been accused of spreading a climate of fear. It has conducted hospital arrests, which had prompted protesters to become reluctant to go for treatment in public hospital, fearing they may get arrested by the police. Medical professionals may also be charged by the police for offering treatment to the wounded.
The police banned protest and marches in various places in Hong Kong. The refusal to issue permits had eroded Hong Kong's freedom of demonstration. The police for rounding up various activists to frighten Hong Kong people into not protesting, even though these protests have been leaderless.
Disregard the safety of the members of the public, police use unlawful force on peaceful or retreating protesters was usual. Hong Kong police can be seen in using excessive force against unarmed and non-resisting citizens and innocent commuters.

13) Trash daily police press. Police lying to the public all the time
Everyday , it is anticipated that the Police Public Relations Bureau would be conducting another routine briefing at 4pm Hong Kong time. It would not be surprising if they could find explanations, if not excuses, for the brutal force used and they would probably, if not certainly, put blames on the protesters for assembling illegally. It has also become a practice for the Police to condemn the protesters for violence while defending the police for whatever forces used during the operations, thereby damaging its own credibility.
The Police has repeatedly denied accusations of tortures and sexual assault cases in detention centre. The most notorious one was in San Uk Lang, which is proximate to the Chinese border. Victims had spoken both in public and online of the maltreatment that they have received and also what they have seen.
In response, the police remained adamant that the accusations were false and demanded the victims to put away their mask and report to the police. One of the Deputy commissioner of police even issued a letter to fellow policemen, claiming that the accusation of “Black Cops” is non-existence and false.

14) Without any conscious of damage cause by the unlawful and excessive use of force, Hong Kong police continues to consider its operation swell with unlimited power to enact laws.

Beijing Stands Behind Hong Kong Police, Hong Kong People Need Help from the World

Every week, millions or thousands of citizens have come out to express their dissatisfaction towards the current political system and the performance of the government. Yet, the government chose to shift the responsibility of the political turmoil to the protesters and condemned violence selectively. They are turning a blind eye to the voice of the people, while pandering to the “white terror” and police brutality in Hong Kong.

Despite the popular outcry from Hong Kong people from different sectors urging the Police Commissioner to issue an immediate official apology for its wilful attacks against citizens, people’s demand once again had not been heard. The reputation of HKPC is totally wrecked.

Although we repeatedly demand the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) to set up an independent inquiry to investigate HKPF’s misconduct and its gross abuse of power, once again the voice of the Hong Kong people is ignored. We seriously doubt of the independence, integrity and 
effectiveness of IPCC.

More peaceful rallies will be ongoing held to openly condemn police excessive use of force as part of the ongoing anti-extradition bill protests. The Hong Kong people re-state their six major demands: 

(1) Independent inquiry on police brutality

(2) Immediate release all protesters

(3) Retract the characterisation of peaceful protests as “riots" 

(4) Complete withdrawal of the Extradition Bill 

(5) Universal suffrage

(6) Reform Hong Kong Police, disband the existing Police Forces

We are deeply worried that this unlawful use of force by the HKPF will persist. More unarmed peaceful protesters, mostly young people, will continued to be hurt and sustain a disproportionate level of injuries, some of which can be long term.

We seek for political settlement to end the violence that erupted following the anti-extradiction bill in 2019. Human rights, political accountability and democracy should be introduced and put into the Hong Kong Police Ordinance. Police force is a major front on which these normative reforms were to take place. These reforms should seek to break the historical reliance of the political elite of Hong Kong/Mainland China on the police as an instrument of elite power and repression; to improve the account-and support the evolution of more a responsive, public-focused policing.

We implore the ICJ to take this crisis seriously and take immediate action to hold the HKPF to account. The Hong Kong government and the police force have completely failed to serve its people. It is only with the intervention of international organisations like the ICJ, we will have a hope to restore order and peace on our streets in a place we call home.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Your sincerely,
Hong Kong Citizens

(photo credit: Hong Kong Free Press)