Official line on protest reports given another push by Cheung

Top News | Cindy Wan 12 Dec 2019

Cindy Wan

Hong Kong's No 2 official yesterday repeated an administration line about the Independent Police Complaints Council being the appropriate platform for looking at social unrest and added it would go side by side with an independent review committee.

But the pro-democracy camp said international experts leaving the IPCC was a slap in the face for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and cast doubt about the veracity of the council's upcoming interim report.

On official insistence that the IPCC is the appropriate way to go in looking at the unrest, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said he did not want to "act like an audio recorder" to keep repeating the official stance.

He said the new independent review committee, which includes scholars looking at the causes of the protests, will identify deep-seated social problems and provide "an answer" for society.

He added that the IPCC and the new committee will focus on different matters but go side by side to study the root causes of conflict.

A government spokeswoman said the chief executive and the police noted "that the IPCC said that its special task force for the study will consider [the International Expert Panel's] advice thoroughly in finalizing the first interim report to ensure a factual, impartial and fair account of incidents."

But Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong said the expert panel "has decided to jump ship," adding that it was a slap in the face for Carrie Lam" and "a vote of no confidence in the coming interim report."

She also appealed to Lam to grab a "golden opportunity" with society relatively peaceful to agree to a demand for an independent commission of inquiry.

The Civil Human Rights Front slammed Lam for "hoping to drag out the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry with the IPCC's interim report." It added Lam "should not think she can say 'the existing mechanism is effective' 100 times and expect her lie will come true."

Pro-establishment legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun criticized the IPCC for being slow in processing an interim report, saying Hong Kong cannot wait for another week or even a day for peace.

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