Hong Kong activist Ken Tsang released after serving sentence, dismisses Occupy amnesty call

SCMP – Hong Kong

Tsang says he has not ruled out running for office, expresses interest in coming by-elections

Ernest Kao Ernest Kao UPDATED : Thursday, 20 Apr 2017, 12:58PM

Activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu was released from prison on Thursday morning after serving out his five- week sentence for assaulting police officers during the 2014 Occupy protests.

Some 20 supporters greeted him at the entrance to Pik Uk Prison in Clear Water Bay holding up yellow umbrellas and banners with the words “I want real universal suffrage”.

Speaking to the media, Tsang responded to contentious – and later retracted – remarks made by Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai earlier this week suggesting legal amnesty for those involved in the Occupy movement, both activists and police, to reconcile a divided society.

Supporters held banners saying: ‘I want real universal suffrage’. Photo: HandoutSupporters held banners saying: ‘I want real universal suffrage’. Photo: Handout

“I don’t really understand or agree with his statements. Is a big reconciliation really necessary? I know society is torn apart, but solving this societal split requires addressing the source,” said Tsang, who had clearly lost weight.

Wu had called on chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to use her powers to declare an amnesty for Occupy participants, including the seven police officers jailed for assaulting Tsang.

“The source of this split is the government, Communist Party and Chinese government not granting us universal suffrage,” Tsang said.

“All those participating in civil disobedience … know that there is a possibility they will have to bear criminal liability. The police were not just carrying out a political objective that could be given amnesty but were blatantly hurting people. The spirit of rule of law is more important.”

Tsang said he had lost 10 pounds in jail, but his “heart was at peace” and he had taken time to think about his future. He said he had not ruled out running for legislative office to continue his fight for universal suffrage and expressed interest in the coming by-elections.

Tsang (centre) said he had lost 10 pounds in jail, but his ‘heart was at peace’. Photo: HandoutTsang (centre) said he had lost 10 pounds in jail, but his ‘heart was at peace’. Photo: Handout

The activist was found guilty in May last year of one count of assaulting police and two of resisting arrest during an incident in which he poured foul-smelling liquid – he insists it was just water – over officers on Lung Wo Road about two weeks into the 79-day protest.

After he was arrested, Tsang was taken by seven policemen to an area near the protest site in Admiralty – dubbed the “dark corner” – and punched and kicked while lying hog-tied on the ground. The officers were convicted and jailed for two years in February for the attack.

Tsang was initially jailed for five weeks by Kowloon City Court for the assault but was granted bail pending an appeal.

He decided to abandon the appeal over his conviction last month because the seven policemen who assaulted him on the same night after his arrest – and faced a separate trial – had been put behind bars.