Manchester Chinese Consulate: police give update on investigation after man assaulted during Hong Kong protest

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Police said no arrests have been made so far and the only other injury reported beyond the protestor who was assaulted was to an officer.

Police have given an update on their investigation into an incident at the Chinese Consulate in Manchester in which a man was dragged inside the grounds and assaulted during a protest by Hong Kong campaigners.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said on Wednesday (19 October) that no arrests have been made so far in connection with the incident on the afternoon of Sunday 16 October when pro-democracy activists were demonstrating outside the building to coincide with the national congress of China’s ruling party.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Police said it was a “complex and sensitive” investigation and they would continue to probe the circumstances for as long as was necessary with the support of partners and other agencies.

The incident at the consulate caused alarm among politicians, with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham describing the scenes as “deeply worrying”. The foreign secretary has tweeted to say Chinese representatives in the UK were summoned to give an account of what happened and to answer for the footage which was circulated online. However, the Chinese Consulate has also written to police saying its grounds were “stormed” by protestors and GMP did not do enough to protect its employees.

What update have the police given about the incident at the Chinese Consulate?

GMP said on Wednesday afternoon that detectives are continuing to work to establish the full circumstances of the incident at the Chinese Consulate. The force said no arrests have been made so far but enquiries would continue “for as long as necessary” with the support of partners.

Police said the investigation was looking at how a man suffered what they described as “several minor physical injuries in the consulate grounds”. The force said a protest had begun peacefully but then “appeared to escalate” and GMP said it was working to understand how and why this happened.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The force said no other injuries had been reported apart from an officer hurting his hand while intervening to remove the man from the consulate grounds after police feared for his safety.

The satirical picture of Chinese president Xi Jinping which was displayed outside the Chinese Consulate by Hong Kong protestorsThe satirical picture of Chinese president Xi Jinping which was displayed outside the Chinese Consulate by Hong Kong protestors
The satirical picture of Chinese president Xi Jinping which was displayed outside the Chinese Consulate by Hong Kong protestors | UGC

GMP said investigators from its Major Incident Team have been obtaining statements from as many people who were at the scene as possible and were continuing to review CCTV, police body-worn video camera and mobile phone footage.

It thanked everyone who had submitted information so far through the portal which has been set up online and encouraged anyone who had not yet come forward but might be able to assist the investigation to do so.

What have police said about the ongoing investigation?

GMP assistant chief constable Rob Potts said: “We’re aware and totally understand the amount of focus on this investigation due to the weekend’s events causing shock and concern in the city and much wider afield.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Our experienced detectives are diligently working through a lot of evidence and statements to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of the timeline of events that lead to this initially peaceful protest unexpectedly escalating in the way it appears to have done.

“There are many strands to this complex and sensitive inquiry, and we will do all we can to achieve as many answers as possible, but I must stress that this investigation will take time and we will provide as regular an update as we can in due course.”

What has the latest political reaction been?

The incident in the consulate grounds has been condemned by both Labour and Conservative politicians. The city-region’s mayor Andy Burnham has expressed alarm at the events while Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan, whose constituency includes the consulate, raised the matter in the House of Commons.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly tweeted that a top Chinese official had been summoned to explain how the assault in the consulate grounds happened and said Beijing had to respect peaceful protest.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Chinese Consulate’s website carries a letter to GMP chief inspector Stephen Wiggins which says the demonstration included “deeply offensive imagery and slogans” which it claimed constituted an offence under the Public Order Act and were intended to “provoke, harass, alarm and distress” consulate employees. It also said the grounds were “stormed” by a group of protestors at one point during the demonstration and that consulate staff had to “fend off unauthorized entry and subsequent assaults”.

The consulate accused police of not doing enough to protect its staff and say officers should have acted differently towards the protest.

Related topics: