Medic says police arrests of volunteers unheard of in civilized countries

Local | 22 Nov 2019 11:56 am

A man who says he was part of a medical team at Polytechnic University when violent clashes erupted on Sunday has accused the police of adopting strategies that were “unheard of in civilized countries,” RTHK reports.
In a letter to The Lancet medical journal, Darren Mann said arrests of emergency medical volunteers by riot police has a chilling effect that could deter other would-be volunteers.
“The arrest of these personnel is almost unheard of in civilized countries and is incompatible with the compact of humanitarianism,” he wrote.
Mann said he left campus on Sunday night, before police placed a cordon around the university.
“We subsequently learned that a group following us (comprising doctors, nurses and paramedics) had been arrested at the police cordon line after leaving the campus,” he wrote.
Mann said he later saw a photograph showing at least 16 people in high-visibility vests and labelled as medical personnel, detained for rioting.
The letter also accused the police of misleading the public with a claim they had invited the Red Cross to intervene and help injured protesters on campus.
Mann said he called both Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres early on Monday morning to seek their help, as social media messages circulated about injured students unable to receive care.
He said police had said they had intelligence that some protesters were masquerading as doctors.
“This is doubtful since all doctors were in possession of their Medical Council of Hong Kong registration details and identity cards. At least five doctors are known to have been arrested and detained by police for more than 24 hours,” he wrote.-Photo: AP

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