In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons

The police grabbed Mr. Cheung 11 days after the Telegram channel was created, accusing him of administering it. They additionally accused him of posting a information on learn how to assassinate law enforcement officials. Mr. Cheung denies the allegations, and a New York Times search couldn’t discover posts matching what the police described.

Mr. Cheung, a thin 29-year-old, was grabbed at a mall round midday on July 18, based on his account. Four plainclothes officers waited for him to unlock his cellphone after which jumped on him, attempting to pry it out of his arms.

After the officers tried to make use of his face to unlock the cellphone, they took him to a police station, the place, he mentioned, he was roughed up and interrogated. Later, officers went to his dwelling and used a USB drive loaded with hacking software program to interrupt into his computer systems, based on his account of the incident. He mentioned that he had been held for greater than 10 hours and that he was undecided how the police had recognized him.

Hong Kong police confirmed the investigation, however they declined to remark additional on it.

The police might have been motivated by the facial-recognition software, which Mr. Cheung mentioned he had confirmed off in a Facebook video he posted final month. Making use of Google expertise, Mr. Cheung, a school dropout who studied pc science, constructed an algorithm to determine law enforcement officials based mostly on a small assortment of pictures that had been posted on-line. He mentioned he didn’t proceed to pursue the venture due to a scarcity of time.

Mr. Cheung mentioned his detention had cemented his fears. He mentioned the plainclothes officers who arrested him didn’t determine themselves till they reached the police station. Later, an investigator in a swimsuit urged him to open his cellphone as a method of demonstrating his innocence “to the 42nd floor” — a phrase Mr. Cheung mentioned appeared to consult with high-ranking police officers. He didn’t consider that the police finally gained entry to the cellphone, though they did break into his different units.

The police additionally didn’t initially permit him to make a name. Only when he mentioned he deliberate to play Ping-Pong together with his uncle did they relent and let him. He mentioned he contacted a pal as an alternative, including “I hate sports.”

Mr. Cheung additionally mentioned he believed he had been adopted by plainclothes officers since his arrest. When he arrived an hour late to an interview with The Times, he mentioned it was as a result of he was attempting to lose a tail. With the assistance of his black Tesla, he mentioned, he managed to outrace these whoever it was on the highways of the New Territories in northern Hong Kong.

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