Police investigate after alleged assault on Hong Kong pro-democracy protester in Manchester

Protest at the Chinese consulate in Manchester Credit: Matthew Leung / The Chaser News

Police are investigating an alleged assault on a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester who had to be rescued by officers after reportedly being dragged into the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police said the campaigner spent the night in hospital after suffering several injuries and that officers had intervened amid fears for his safety.

Scuffles broke out outside the building on Sunday afternoon after 30 to 40 pro-democracy protesters gathered and put up posters.

Journalist Matthew Leung, who was there, told ITV news: "People from Hong Kong moved here for a reason, we expect we have certain manner of freedom here, freedom to express, freedom from fear. It is quite shocking to all of us this has happened".

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: "We understand the shock and concern that this incident will have caused not just locally, but for those much further afield who may have connections with our communities here in Greater Manchester.

"It is clear what began as a peaceful protest unexpectedly escalated and our officers acted professionally in response to a hostile and dynamic situation to help the victim and ensure he didn't come to any further harm.

"A full and comprehensive investigation is under way by our experienced Major Incident Team detectives, and I can assure the public that all viable avenues will be explored to bring to justice anyone we believe is culpable for the scenes we saw outside the Chinese Consulate on Sunday."

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said  “What took place yesterday outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester was deeply worrying and has no place in a city region like ours that prides itself on peoples’ right to protest peacefully."   

Scuffles broke out outside the building in Manchester at around 3pm, with footage posted on social media apparently showing one protester being beaten inside the consulate grounds.

Credit: Matthew Leung / The Chaser News

The campaigner told BBC Chinese that staff from the building had ripped down pro-democracy posters before he was beaten.

“They dragged me inside, they beat me up,” he said, adding that he was then pulled out by UK police.

“It’s ridiculous. They (the attackers) shouldn’t have done that. We are supposed to have freedom to say whatever we want here (in the UK).”

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, UK police are not allowed to enter consular grounds without permission.

Downing Street said the reports were "extremely concerning"

Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith called for the Chinese ambassador to the UK to be made to apologise, and those responsible sent back to China.