October 15, 2015 / 7:29 AM / 3 years ago

Hong Kong police, democracy activist charged over beating

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Seven Hong Kong police officers have been charged in connection with the beating of a protester during pro-democracy demonstrations in the Chinese-ruled city late last year that brought large parts of the financial center to a halt.

A pro-democracy protester cries as he holds a placard urging an investigation into the alleged police beating of Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, an hospitalized protester, during a rally in front of the police headquarters of Wan Chai district in Hong Kong October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The protester, Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, was also charged.

The officers were charged with one joint count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, while one officer was also charged with one count of common assault, a police spokeswoman said on Thursday. The officers will appear in court on Monday.

Tsang was served with five charges, one for assaulting police and four for resisting police. He is also due in court on Monday.

The Department of Justice said in statement that Tsang splashed liquid on police near government headquarters, then resisted arrest, and that those officers were different from those charged.

“This is obviously due to political pressure,” Tsang told reporters. “They are trying to divert attention from the police officers being charged.”

Footage of the attack on Tsang in October last year went viral, sparking outrage from some lawmakers and the public.

Protesters had been demanding full democracy for the former British colony and were also calling for Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Leung Chun-ying, to step down.

The weeks of protests failed to persuade Beijing to lift a restriction on who can stand for election as Hong Kong’s leader in the next vote in 2017.

China rules Hong Kong under a “one country, two systems” formula that accords the city a degree of autonomy and freedom not enjoyed in mainland China, with universal suffrage an eventual goal.

Additional reporting by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Nick Macfie

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