8 Hong Kong police officers charged over alleged false accusations, harassment of street sleepers

Homeless Hongkongers gather to sleep at Tung Chau Street Park in Sham Shui Po.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Eight Hong Kong police officers suspended from duty for alleged offences against street sleepers have been charged with perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office.

The six male and two female officers, aged 26 to 44, of the Sham Shui Po special duty squad were arrested earlier this year on suspicion of falsely accusing a street sleeper of drug possession and smashing the property of the homeless in two operations in Tung Chau Street Park in February.

On Tuesday, they were charged with perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office, criminal damages and wounding.

The officers were released on bail pending a mention in Eastern Court on Jan 6.

A man stands vigil following the death of Le Van Muoi, who was found dead in his cell at the Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre, where he was sent for alleged drug possession. 
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

Another officer originally arrested with the group was released unconditionally, a police spokesman said.

One suspected victim, 54-year-old street sleeper Le Van Muoi, who was remanded at Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre for drug offences in September, was found dead in his cell a month later with a pair of trousers around his neck, according to the Correctional Services Department.

The Coroner’s Court is expected to launch an inquiry into the death of the ethnic Vietnamese man, who had camped at the park for two decades.

Separately on Tuesday, another female officer was charged with two counts of conspiracy to launder money.

The officer from the Eastern district investigation team was accused of handling HK$530,000 (S$90,000) in suspected proceeds from email scams via two bank accounts.

The force’s financial investigations division began looking into the case after receiving a report of an unusually large number of transactions in the 46-year-old officer’s two bank accounts between November last year and January.

She was arrested in Ngau Tau Kok on Tuesday and is expected to appear in Kwun Tong Court on Jan 6.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.