In a video that quickly transfixed and outraged many in Hong Kong and beyond, a group of police officers appeared to take a pro-democracy demonstrator into a dark corner early Wednesday morning and kick him repeatedly while his hands were bound.
The Civic Party, one of the main pro-democracy political parties in Hong Kong, identified the man as Ken Tsang, a party member and volunteer social worker who specializes in helping street children. Dennis Kwok, a Civic Party lawmaker and barrister, said that he was representing Mr. Tsang and that his client had been taken to Ruttonjee Hospital for a full examination because he feared that he had suffered internal injuries.
Mr. Kwok said that the police had also “slapped around” Mr. Tsang, and that at some point Mr. Tsang had been struck repeatedly with an object, possibly a police baton. “He has severe bruises to his face, and he has also been kicked in the back and in the stomach,” Mr. Kwok said.
A team of a dozen pro-democracy lawyers has met with “10 or 15” of the 45 people arrested by the police during the pre-dawn demonstration, and “five or six” of those who had spoken with lawyers also complained of having been slapped or punched. While some of these additional demonstrators have also requested full medical exams at hospitals, none initially appears to have been injured to the same extent as Mr. Tsang, Mr. Kwok said.
The video of the apparent beating and pictures of Mr. Tsang’s bruised body have become a rallying point for critics of the government, and they could help energize the protest movement after a night of chaos and setbacks. The images have given a vivid personal face to an accusation that the protesters often make — that the government and its police force use unfair force against peaceful protesters.