Ken 25 years old Freelancer
At midnight on August 10th, 2019, Ken was heading home from the MTR’s (Mass Transit Railway) Whampoa Station. Suddenly, a team of riot police rushed out and started randomly arresting people. While Ken was subdued, put in the police car, and detained at the police station, he was beaten up by multiple police officers. They shot elastic bands at his back and grabbed his genitals. He needed to stay at the hospital for two nights because of bleeding from his left ear and the wounds he had all over his body.
On August 10th, protesters held multiple protests in different parts of Hong Kong. They blocked the toll booths of the Cross-Harbour Tunnel in Hung Hom. At the same time, police arrested protesters in various areas across the city. It was near the time for the last train to leave when Ken arrived at the Whampoa Station, so there weren’t many passengers and no reporters there. He was handcuffed and shoved onto the ground. Later, more police arrived and asked Ken what had happened. He was beaten by ten police officers, and his head stepped on.
After Ken and another arrested person were put in a police car, an officer closed the curtains inside, put on gloves and continued the abuse. Another police officer grabbed Ken’s genitals while asking for his phone’s security code. Ken refused to tell him. The police officer called them “cockroaches”, asking them if they had a good time that day but beating them up and ordering them not to struggle at the same time.
After arriving at the Hung Hom Police Station, an officer pushed Ken down the stairs while he was being escorted in. He then pulled Ken back up, telling him to be careful when walking, and hit Ken’s head against the wall. All the officers passing by them pushed and insulted Ken for no reason. At about 6 or 7 am the next morning, a voluntary lawyer came to the police station for Ken. He saw all the wounds on his head and asked the police to let him see a doctor. After staying at the hospital for two nights, Ken went to the court directly and was accused of illegal assembly, assaulting the police, and being in possession of explosives. “I was the one who was beaten up by the police, but now I’m charged with assaulting them. Nowadays, officers can say and do whatever they want.” Ken was in police custody for two weeks before being granted bail. However, he still needed to report to the police station three times a week and was treated like a criminal.
The so-called “explosives” they thought Ken had were smoke bombs. The police also found an aerial camera belonging to him. “Those smoke bombs were used to create special effects when shooting.” Ken has a wide range of interests including firearms. He was an escort guard, but he was immediately fired once his employer found out that he was arrested. “I’m the only one in the family who had a full-time job. Losing it had a huge financial impact on us.”
Boys who love guns always dream of being police officers. But Ken had hated them since childhood, “They act like gangers because they always do whatever they want, like searching people for their identification cards and intimating people for no reason.” These events happen to teenagers who live in public housing all the time as well. Ken also holds a first aid license, “Originally, I wanted to be a first responder, but that may not be possible now. I’m no longer able to apply for a government job since I’m involved in a lawsuit.”
Ken needed a job, so he found a part-time one at a restaurant. “I had worked at a restaurant when I was a student.” Ken’s boss liked his work ethic, so he changed his shift from lunchtime to dinnertime. To facilitate his new work schedule, the judge changed the curfew order from 10 pm-6 am to midnight-8 am. Ken requested that the police provide CCTV footage of Hung Hom police station through his lawyer, but he never got it. The Complaints Against Police Office stated that they wouldn’t investigate Ken’s complaint until his lawsuit was over, but Ken insisted on it. “There’s no way the police can abuse their authority without consequences. They must receive the punishment they deserve.”
Photography：Ko Chung Ming 高仲明
Text：Choi Wai Man 蔡慧敏
Translation：Joanna Ng (Switch language on top left corner)
About the series▾
Ko Chung-ming is a local Hong Kong photographer, having an over 20-year of experience in the field, he specializes in shooting photo-stories, in-depth coverage. His work 《Wounds of Hong Kong 港傷》 entered theSony World Photography Awards 2020 – Professional Group last three.
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”Scars and bruises may fade, but we must remember what caused them.
Ko states that the purpose of《Wounds of Hong Kong》is to record police brutality, and provided an in-depth interview story with each Hong Kong people who engaged in the movement. Amnesty International Hong Kong picked 10 stories out of 24, presenting to the public.