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Foreign Experts Quit Hong Kong Police Oversight Board

A pro-democracy protester waves a flag as protesters and office workers march past business shop lots during a protests at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, Dec. 11, 2019.

A group of international law enforcement experts recruited by Hong Kong's police watchdog unit have quit, citing concerns about the unit's independence.

In a statement issued Wednesday announcing their resignations, the experts said there was a "crucial shortfall" in the "powers, capacity and independent investigative capability" of the Independent Police Complaints Council.

The experts from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were brought in to advise the council in its investigation of police actions since mass demonstrations first broke out in June over a proposed bill that would have sent individuals to mainland China to stand trial. The demonstrations have become increasingly violent as they have evolved into demands for full democracy for Hong Kong, riot police firing rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas at angry protesters.

The demonstrators have also demanded an independent inquiry into possible use of excessive force by police — an idea rejected by embattled chief executive Carrie Lam.

Pro-democracy legislator Tanya Chan called the mass exodus by the international experts as "a vote of no-confidence" in the IPCC's upcoming report on allegations of police misconduct.