A Hong Kong policeman has told a court of the sharp nagging pain he feels daily in a fingertip that was bitten off during a protest at a shopping mall and later reattached.
Detective Sergeant Keith Leung Kai-yip described his difficulty in recovering from the injury to his right ring finger, which he sustained on July 14 last year, as he testified against the alleged assailant To Kai-wa, 24, at District Court on Wednesday. To has denied assaulting three police officers and disorderly conduct during the chaotic protest in New Town Plaza in Sha Tin.
Leung said that during the demonstration, his commander was in the mall’s atrium struggling to arrest To, who prosecutors claim had already attacked another officer.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
To was fiercely resisting, so Leung and his commander together with a plain-clothes officer, pulled the student down into a sitting position, the court heard. The sergeant said he tried to hold the man’s head in place to use pressure-point control tactics he had learned in training.
He grabbed the back of To’s shirt with his left hand and placed his right on the student’s face, in an attempt to place his index finger just above the mouth but was unsuccessful.
“His head continued to move,” Leung testified. “Then I experienced pain in my finger. I looked at it – he was biting my finger … like he wanted to break off my finger, because I saw him turning his head from right to left while he was biting down.”
The officer said he immediately told To to let go and tried to break free from his bite, which he eventually managed to do before handing the man over to his colleagues.
“But then I realised my finger was already bitten off,” he said. “Later I found my finger outside [the shop] Coach.”
Every day I experience the situation of nagging pain, stinging pain
Keith Leung, detective sergeant
“Can you describe the pain?” prosecutor Martin Hui Siu-ting SC asked. “Intense,” the officer replied.
Leung was sent to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, then Prince of Wales Hospital, for surgery to reattach it. He was on sick leave until August 31 this year.
The sergeant said he had recovered about 70 per cent of the finger’s function but no improvements were made since May, despite occupational therapy and follow-up appointments.
His finger would tire easily upon extended use, respond slower to thermal stimuli and it could not feel anything “if it were a simple touch”.
“Every day I experience the situation of nagging pain, stinging pain,” he said while rubbing the finger. “So basically I have to massage the finger once in a while, on a daily basis.”
To has pleaded not guilty to four counts: disorderly conduct in a public place, assaulting a police officer, inflicting grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent.
His trial continues before district judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng on Thursday.