Woman gives birth prematurely after police ‘insulted and mistreated’ her in arrest

Published (HKT): 2021.01.24 05:39

A Hong Kong woman gave birth prematurely after she was arrested this week in a dispute with police officers who allegedly mishandled and insulted her.

The woman, who was seven months’ pregnant, was apprehended around 2 p.m. on Wednesday on suspicion of obstructing police officers in To Kwa Wan, Kowloon. She had declined to show her identification card as requested, hence the arrest, police said.

The altercation lasted for about half an hour before the woman, 42, complained of feeling ill and was sent to hospital. Her baby boy was born preterm on Saturday morning and put in an incubator. He is said to be in good physical condition, while his mother has been released on bail.

In an interview with Apple Daily, the woman said the police officers had asked her to move closer to them after requesting to see her ID card. The woman did not do so as she wanted to keep her distance on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of the officers refused to acquiesce to her request for social distancing and then handcuffed her, saying she was obstructing police officers in the execution of their duties, she recalled.

She said police called her “a fat b---h” and that she was emotional throughout the incident.

“How could I, as a pregnant woman, have wanted to argue with them? Had they not insulted me that way, I wouldn’t have got into the argument,” she told Apple Daily on Thursday.

The woman’s younger brother sent security footage to the newspaper, showing her arguing with police officers for around 10 minutes. She later sits on the floor before being lifted by the officers and handcuffed. In a second surveillance clip, shot from another angle, the woman is seen handcuffed and surrounded by five police officers. They appear to be quarrelling, with the police saying she is uncooperative and refusing to present her ID card. Some onlookers ask them to remove the handcuffs as she is pregnant, and one officer says: “Yeah right, you’re just saying that.”

It is understood that several complaints have been made against the same police officer who did not believe the woman was pregnant. In 2014, he was accused of swearing at people during another ID inspection, making a finger gun gesture at journalists and pushing a hotel staffer who had complained police did not turn off the engine of their parked police van.

The force said in response to the latest incident that the woman was emotional and refused to listen to officers on the ground, and was given two verbal warnings before her arrest. She was required to report to the police in mid-February, it said. The police added that anyone could lodge a complaint with the Complaints Against Police Office unit if they felt they had been treated unreasonably during the police’s handling of any incident.

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