A juxtaposition of SCMP headlines shows how, in just 11 short months, Hong Kong’s prison service has changed. What had been a confident and manly institution embracing rapid-fire guns and expanding shields has become a panic-stricken wreck, petrified of chocolate and hairpins. The city’s justice and penal system is still learning how to handle prisoners of conscience.
The Washington Post highlights the plight of American lawyer Samuel Bickett, convicted of assaulting a police officer who had refused to identify himself while beating a young man in an MTR station…
“To commit this crime, you have to have actual knowledge that he’s a police officer,” Bickett said. “And there’s a video of this guy saying he is not a police officer.”
Among other subjects in the (possibly paywalled) WaPo piece: the likelihood that prisons will become less transparent and fair as they clampdown on their own ‘civil society’ of political prisoners (often seen by other inmates as heroes); the extent to which the police are now in practice above the law; and the hypersensitivity of the police and Justice Dept in response to press queries.
The NatSec regime faces a challenge in calibrating how harshly to deal with the American (not the first US lawyer it has arrested and bailed). If it thought Bickett would keep quiet and let things slide when he was let out of jail to appeal, it was wrong. The system has picked on someone who takes a stand (like Chow Hang-tung or the ladies at Lo Wu Correctional Institution)…
I feel such a responsibility to speak out. Many of my fellow Hongkongers will never get this sort of attention for their case. If the Police are doing this to me, despite all my privilege, then what they’re doing to the powerless and voiceless is much worse.
(Link to YouTube video of the incident. )
The NatSec scriptwriters now have to make a choice: back off and admit the cops were in the wrong that day in the MTR, or do the classic Crush Without Mercy psycho-Leninist thing on this guy and have it all over the US press.
Meanwhile, it’s time for the NatSec regime to come for the charities.