- Investigation by police watchdog will focus on controversial episodes during recent unrest, such as mob attack in Yuen Long and police charge on Prince Edward station
- If it does not assuage residents' concerns, Lam will 'definitely think of another way to make a sufficient response to the public'
Hong Kong's leader on Sunday pledged to find other ways to assuage public concerns about police conduct if an official probe into key incidents during more than four months of political turmoil fails to do the job.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) would focus on controversial episodes during the recent anti-government unrest, including the Yuen Long mob attack and the police charge on Prince Edward station.
But she did not specify what she would do if the police watchdog's report, due by the end of this year, does not placate angry residents.
Protesters have repeatedly demanded an independent commission of inquiry into the alleged wrongdoing, but Lam has rejected that, saying the IPCC investigation will suffice. She earlier appointed two more members to the council " former Bar Association chairman Paul Lam Ting-kwok and former deputy ombudsman Helen Yu Lai Ching-ping " in a bid to enhance public confidence.
Speaking in an interview with TVB, Lam said the IPCC probe would cover several controversial incidents, including the Yuen Long attack on the night of July 21, when a rampaging mob, mostly dressed in white, assaulted protesters and black-clad passengers indiscriminately in and around an MTR station. Police action at Prince Edward MTR station on August 31 " after which rumours spread that protesters were killed, despite a lack of any evidence " and alleged abuse at San Uk Ling Holding Centre in Sheung Shui would also be covered.
"Up to now, these incidents are what the public are most concerned about. On the night of July 21 in Yuen Long, what happened with the white-clad and black-clad men? On August 31 at Prince Edward station, were there any deaths? And at a later stage in San Uk Ling Holding Centre, whether the alleged incidents by some people did happen there," she said.
"I believe the IPCC will quickly look into these key incidents and deliver a view in its report."
Lam said she did not want to speculate on the IPCC report. But she promised to do something to address people's concerns if the report failed to do so.
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"We sincerely hope to show the public the truth about these incidents," she said.
"But if the report of the independent IPCC, when it is delivered, still fails to quell the controversies with a lot of doubts in society, at that time I believe the chief executive and the (Hong Kong) government will definitely think of another way to make a sufficient response to the public," she said.
During the months of unrest, sparked in June by opposition to a since-withdrawn extradition bill, protesters have clashed regularly with police on the city's streets, often decrying officers' behaviour and tactics. The force has repeatedly used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons, in response to radical protesters armed with rods, petrol bombs and bricks.
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