• Pair in court alongside former officer for first time in connection with incident involving 62-year-old man at city’s North District Hospital
  • Constables Au Kwok-wai and Tang Man-him, and fellow defendant Lam Yik-sing, facing AOABH charges
One of the defendants arrives at Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court on Thursday. Photo: Dickson Lee

A magistrate has questioned the appropriateness of charges brought against two police officers and a former police officer accused of assaulting a 62-year-old man in a public hospital.

Constables Au Kwok-wai, 25, and Tang Man-him, 24, made their first appearance at Sha Tin Magistrates' Court on Thursday, alongside fellow defendant Lam Yik-sing, 30, two days after being arrested on suspicion of assaulting Chung Chi-wah inside room 7A of the North District Hospital, in Sheung Shui, on June 26.

The case is not related to any of the anti-government protests sweeping the city.

Au and Tang face a joint charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, while Lam is charged with conspiracy to commit assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The maximum penalty for the charges is three years in jail.

Chung Chi-wah (centre), flanked by Democratic Party community officer Edward Kwok Long-fung (left) and lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, leaves police headquarters in Wan Chai on Wednesday after making a formal complaint against officers. Photo: Nora Tam

Acting Principal Magistrate Ko Wai-hung noted a psychological report on the victim had not played a part in prosecutors' thinking, and asked them if they would like to seek one for Chung.

"This is to determine the appropriateness of the charges," Ko said, adding that it would give a comprehensive picture when considering the charge, though he made it clear he was merely making an observation, not a suggestion.

The magistrate's comment came after some members of the public suggested the trio should have faced more serious charges, after the case first came to light two days ago.

A representative for the Department of Justice said it had not been able to contact Chung to obtain his consent for a psychological examination.

From the dock, Au looked over to the public gallery, while Tang, and Lam, who has resigned from the force since the incident, kept their heads low, staring at the mental fence which separated them from the rest of the courtroom.

Ko adjourned the case to October 17 to allow time for the police investigation to continue, and so lawyers could obtain various medical reports on Chung.

He granted all three defendants a cash bail of HK$10,000 and ordered them not to leave Hong Kong.

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