5th November, 2014
Lawyer Backs 7-Officers Was Charged for Beating Suspects Before
Solicitor Stanley Chan Wing-leung from New People’s Party, initiated a silent gathering for lawyers against the occupy movement two days ago (3/Nov). Chan organised a group of solicitors, called “Saving the 7-Righteous Heroes (loose translation due to the reference to the story Bau Ching-tien), to provide legal support for the seven officers who allegedly beat up a protester in a dark corner – the alleged case was caught in camera and widely reported in the press globally. Stanley Chan is a former police officer, who was involved in a case in the 80s when a total of 13 police officers interrogated a suspect using a hammer and burning his private part with hot iron. The case drew a lot of attention, and the police force nicknamed these 13 officers “the 13 thugs”. Responding to the press enquiry, Chan said, “the case was closed long ago, and all (13 of us) were deemed innocent at court.”
Chan’s Twitter message says, “Not to worry everyone. I will arrange a group of solicitors to save the 7-hereos from danger. Meeting has been arranged, legal support will be provided. ‘To punish the wrongdoers and loyalty’ has been my motto since the day I took my oath to join the police force in 1974 (Royal Hong Kong Police). Stanley Chan”
Chan said in a radio interview that “7-Hereos” was only a reference of the involved officers, and stressed that, “until they are found guilty by the court of law, no one has the right to say they are guilty.” After the silent gathering took place, a number of informers said that Chan was involved in a high profile case of which multiple police officers were trailed for using illegal violence on a suspect of drug dealing. The case was trailed at High Court, and all 13 defendants were found not guilty. There were also rumours saying that the 13 officers were ordered to resign. Informers suggested Chan sympathises the seven officers as the case was directly related to his past.
According to previous news reports, the case involving Stanley Chan took place in early September 1986. Chan was a Senior Inspector and was in charge of a unit investigating a case involving drug dealing, and the suspect was taken to Lok Fu Park in Kowloon City by the 13 officers involved. Chan left the scene for part of the incident. The victim was reported to have been beaten with a big hammer on his back where folders were placed as “cushion”. The victim was also reported to have been burnt on his stomach and private parts with hot metal object. After spending two hours in the park, the suspect was finally taken to the Wong Tai Sin Police Station for detention.
The victim of the case, who had committed offenses including drug use and robbery, recalled at court that Chan bellowed at him “I hate drug traffickers the most” before beating him on his chest twice. The victim complained about the police’s use of violence at the station and was sent to the hospital for four days. The Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) took over the victim’s case and found that all 13 officers involved gave consistent statements. Chan contacted the drug dealer who assisted the police to arrest the victim, threatened him to take back the evidence that has been taken by the CAPO. All 13 officers involved in the incident were charged for six counts of offenses, including assault, wounding, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. After 70 days of trial, the case was finally closed on 21st January, 1988 – all 13 defendants were found not guilty by the jury.
A retired officer recalled that Stanley Chan used to work at the Criminal Investigation Unit at the Kowloon Region. After the case was being reported, “every one of us called the 13 of them the ’13 thugs’. Chan was not actively involved in the beating, but he definitely knew about the incident but failed to report it, and tried to cover it up.”
Due to technical problems, all the defendants were released without charges, “the witnesses’ statements were not consistent, and the jury sympathised with the defendants because they were only ‘doing their jobs as police’ so they were found not guilty.” Subsequently, the Deputy Commissioner of Police then ordered the 13 officers to resign, but no disciplinary hearing was conducted.
When asked about the case, Chan stressed that he resigned voluntarily and did not receive any order from the senior management. “We were all proven to be innocent. We were innocent after being trailed and resumed to our position afterward.” He refused to comment whether he sympathises the seven officers because of his past.