A young woman who suffered a serious eye injury during an anti-government protest in Hong Kong last month has applied for a judicial review, and injunction, to stop police from reading and further using her medical records.
There will be a hearing on Thursday, after police obtained a search warrant and seized her medical records on August 29, prompting the woman to seek her first injunction to block the Hospital Authority from handing over her file.
But, on Monday, it was revealed the records had already been given to police, and the woman has sought a judicial review, and another injunction, to stop them from proceeding.
Her representative said the originating summons would be made public on Wednesday.
The police said the warrant was necessary, as neither the woman nor her family had responded to their requests to hand over the file.
The woman’s representative disputed that, and said her lawyers had “reached out to both the police and the Department of Justice on September 2, 3, 6 and 9. Neither responded”.
The woman has become one of the main icons of Hong Kong’s protests, which are now in their third month, and she has featured on posters as an example of what protesters claim is police brutality.
It was originally claimed she was hit by a police beanbag round during a march in Tsim Sha Tsui on August 11, but officials dispute that, and there have been suggestions she was actually hit by a projectile fired from a protester’s catapult.
On Tuesday, Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah said the police did not need to explain the warrant to any third party other than the Hospital Authority, which held the medical records. However, he did not say if the medical records detailed the cause of the injury.
“We are now combining the information from the medical records with other evidence from the scene, but most importantly we still need the victim herself to come and give a statement on what she was doing at such a dangerous scene, and her distance from the violent protesters,” Li said.
He denied again the woman had contacted police, and said he was looking forward to her response to a letter police sent on August 12.
Meanwhile, police did not directly address questions about a secondary school student who was seen bleeding from the head after several police officers chased him down, and hit him with batons, as they stormed Tai Po Market station to make arrests on Saturday.
Anti-government protesters had staged a sit-in at the station to protest what they claimed was collusion between the MTR Corporation, and the police, for refusing to make security footage from Prince Edward station on August 31 public.
An incident on that date saw riot police enter the station to make arrests, and seven people were injured as officers used pepper-sprayed and batons during the course of the operation.
“It was not a routine stop and search,” Superintendent Wong Wai-shun said. “The officers needed to go to a scene where there was violent destruction of property by a large group of people taking place, so the police used the proportionate amount of force to make arrests.
“As far as I know, the man in the blue shirt was running away from officers.”
The student was later charged with taking part in an illegal assembly, police said.
Wong called on members of the public not to go to such “chaotic scenes” and to comply with police instructions if they are caught in such a situation.
“The law authorises the police to use force, so the person on the receiving end cannot expect to be comfortable,” he said.
Police also announced they would set up “anti-violence” WhatsApp hotlines for members of the public to provide intelligence or ideas to help the force stamp out violence. The numbers are 5566-9500, with 10 lines, running to 5566-9509.
It takes two to tango. Both the police and the public have a role to play in restoring public safety.
Chief Superintendent John Tse
“We must reject violence to restore safety,” Chief Superintendent John Tse Chun-chung said. “It takes two to tango. Both the police and the public have a role to play in restoring public safety. We hope citizens can make good use of the anti-violence hotline to report information on acts of violence.”
The new hotlines came as police noted the escalating violence in protests over the past few months, and enquiries by members of the public for a designated channel for them to offer information about protests.
But, police said the new hotlines were for “non-urgent violent incidents”, while members of the public should still use the usual channels, such as dialling 999, going to report rooms in person, or using online crime information forms, to report crimes.
Additional reporting by Ng Kang-chung