An international panel of experts announced on Wednesday that they were quitting a probe into alleged abuses by Hong Kong police during the past six months of massive pro-democracy protests.
The experts were hired in September to assist Hong Kong’s police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), as they investigated police conduct.
In a statement, the panel criticized the IPCC, saying that the watchdog needed more authority to carry out a proper investigation into the way Hong Kong police have handled the demonstrations.
“We ultimately concluded that a crucial shortfall was evident in the powers, capacity and independent investigative capability of IPCC,” the statement read.
The panel included current or former police watchdog chiefs from the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, as well as an expert on crowd behavior.
Setback for government
The move is a major blow to Hong Kong’s government, which brought in the team of external experts to appease protesters.
One of the protesters’ key demands is that an independent inquiry be carried out into police violence and misconduct during months of violent clashes with demonstrators.
IPCC Chairman Anthony Neoh criticized the international experts earlier this month, saying that they “do not understand Hong Kong’s situation.”
The protests broke out in Hong Kong in June over a bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China. The bill was eventually withdrawn, but the demonstrations have continued, with protesters demanding political reform and fully free elections.
The protests have seen violent clashes between police and protesters.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement gained a boost recently when their parties swept local elections, sending a stinging rebuke to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as well as her political bosses in Beijing.
rs/dr (AFP, dpa)
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