Following is a question by Prof the Hon Joseph Lee and a reply
by the Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee, in the Legislative
Council today (December 18):
It has been reported that on the evening of the 18th of last
month, dozens of demonstrators in Yau Ma Tei fell down when
they dodged to avoid being rounded up and arrested by the
Police, with some of them stacking on top of one another and
their lives hanging by a thread.
Volunteer first-aiders at the scene tried to administer
first aid treatment for them but were driven away by police
officers with batons.
The Police have all along denied that there was any
In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
of the details of the Fire Services Department's handling of
the injured persons in the aforesaid incident, including the
numbers of ambulance personnel and ambulances deployed and the
time of their arrival at the scene, their eyewitness reports
made to the Fire Services Communication Centre (including
whether there was any incident of people stacking on top of
one another), and the number of injured persons, with a
breakdown by the gender and age distribution of such persons,
the seriousness of their injuries and the time of their
arrival at the hospital; whether the law enforcement actions
of the Police hindered and delayed the rescue work;
whether police officers are required, when carrying out arrest
actions in public events, to make the life safety and medical
needs of the people at scenes the prime considerations; if
they are required to do so, whether the police officers
concerned in the aforesaid incident violated the relevant
requirements; if they are not required to do so, of the
reasons for that; and
whether it will consider afresh setting up an independent
commission of inquiry to inquire about whether the force used
by the police officers in the law enforcement actions taken in
respect of the movement of opposition to the proposed
legislative amendments (including the aforesaid incident) was
of an appropriate level?
of the public enjoy the freedoms of expression, speech and
assembly, but they must abide by the law.
According to section 10 of the Police Force Ordinance
(Cap 232), it is the statutory duty of the Police to maintain
public safety and public order. Therefore, if any unlawful act
occurs, the Police must take appropriate actions to restore
public peace. If
the public express their views in a peaceful and lawful
manner, there is no need for the Police to use any force.
Since June 9 this year up till now, more than 1 000 protests,
processions and public meetings have been staged in Hong Kong,
and many of which eventually turned into serious illegal acts
of violence. To
respond to and curb violent acts, police officers have to
deploy appropriate force to control the situations and bring
rioters to justice so as to restore public safety and public
reply to various parts of the question is as follows:
and (2) Regarding the illegal acts on the evening of November
18, there are a few points that need to be set out to help us
understand the development of the incident:
Firstly, netizens had called on a large number of people
online to block the roads in various districts on November 18,
claiming that it was a tactic of distracting the Police -
"besieging Wei to rescue Zhao" (i.e. relieving a besieged ally
by attacking the home base of the besiegers), so that unlawful
protesters inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University would
be able to escape.
Secondly, from that evening until the small hours of November
19, thousands of rioters wreaked havoc and blocked roads in
Yau Ma Tei (YMT) and Jordan areas, including building
barricades with sundries, attacking police officers with
bricks and sundries, and hurling nearly a thousand petrol
bombs in total, posing serious threats to the personal safety
and lives of the public and the police officers at the scene.
Thirdly, before conducting dispersal and arrest operations,
the Police had repeatedly warned rioters for a considerable
period to stop their illegal acts and leave the scene but in
officers had therefore used tear gas to effect dispersal and
arrest unlawful rioters.
During the operation, rioters tried to escape in order to
evade legal liability, and some of them fell down at various
locations when fleeing.
Police officers at the scene took crowd management
measures immediately and arranged assistance from ambulance
and fire personnel who arrived at the scene.
Before the ambulance personnel arrived, police officers
also provided preliminary treatment for the injured persons.
The Police arrested a total of 213 persons that night
and the arrestees were charged with the offence of "taking
part in a riot".
On the night of November 18, while handling an "automatic fire
alarm" incident outside Exit A1 of YMT Station, at around
11.30 pm, fire personnel noticed that a large number of people
were running to the direction of Pitt Street from Nathan Road,
and there were people who fell in the passageway between Exit
A1 of YMT Station and Bell House.
There were also people who continued to flee by
crossing those who fell.
Fire personnel immediately reported the situation to
the Fire Services Communications Centre and requested for
the meantime, the fire personnel at the scene started rescue
operation immediately and spent about 10 minutes to carry more
than 30 trapped people to a safe place.
The first ambulance arrived at the junction of Waterloo Road
and Nathan Road at 11.48pm.
As the area around Dundas Street, Waterloo Road
eastbound and Nathan Road northbound was blocked by a large
number of bricks and obstacles, ambulances called to the scene
could not park nearby.
Therefore, ambulance personnel need to bring the
ambulance stretchers and equipment to the site from further
ambulance personnel conveyed the first injured person to the
nearest Kwong Wah Hospital for treatment on foot by using an
ambulance stretcher at 12.02am.
They also conveyed other injured persons in batches
having regard to their level of injuries to different
hospitals for treatment.
At about 4.30am, the last batch of the injured persons
with relatively minor injuries was conveyed to the hospitals.
During the course of operation, ambulance personnel
provided preliminary treatment for injured persons on the
In the incident, the Fire Services Department (FSD) dispatched
a total of 10 fire appliances, 41 ambulances, 48 fire
personnel and 123 ambulance personnel.
FSD conveyed altogether 33 people, including 26 males
and seven females, to different hospitals for treatment, among
those were four police officers.
Apart from two adults whose ages were unknown, the rest
of the injured persons were aged between 16 and 45.
Their injuries included sprains, polypnea, dizziness,
vomiting, bone fracture, etc.
The youngest injured person was a 16-year-old who
suffered head and back injuries.
The eldest injured persons were two 45-year-olds who
had dislocated fingers, shortness of breath and hand injuries.
In the incident, fire personnel provided on-site triage of
casualties with the assistance of the Police.
Under all circumstances, the Police will consider the needs of
injured persons and will not obstruct any rescue work.
They will try their best to facilitate ambulance and
At the same time, the Police must take into account the
circumstances, safety and security situations at scene.
During rescue operations, FSD and the Police will
co-ordinate closely to ensure that injured persons can receive
medical treatment in the first instance when it is safe to do
According to the Police's guidelines, if an arrestee is
injured at the scene of crime or during arrest, that person
will be arranged to receive treatment.
Most police officers have received first aid and basic
medical training and are able to provide preliminary treatment
for injured persons before ambulance personnel arrive at the
scene. In handling
injured arrestees, the Police must also consider the safety
and security of arrestees.
(3) The Government considers it appropriate for the
Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) to handle
complaints against police officers.
IPCC was established under the Independent Police
Complaints Council Ordinance (Cap 604) and operates
independently to perform its statutory functions, which
include observing, monitoring and reviewing the handling and
investigation of reportable complaints by the Complaints
Against Police Office and making recommendations on the
handling and investigation of complaints.
IPCC is proactively studying a number of major public order
events held since June 9 and the corresponding actions taken
by the Police.
IPCC has also indicated that it would strive to publish the
first preliminary report by around January next year where
opine that IPCC should be allowed to perform its statutory
functions under the prevailing mechanism and proceed with the
Given the complexity of the work of the study, I hope that the
public would give IPCC the time and room for completing this
The report to be submitted by IPCC to the Chief Executive will
be made available to the public for examination in detail.
The Government will carefully consider the
recommendations of the report to decide on the appropriate