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27 September, 2022
 
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Foreign tourist goes after Ayia Napa police

Chinese man in UK says he was abused, denied lawyer after racially-charged encounter quickly escalated

Newsroom

A Chinese man living in London is seeking public support as he takes on the police in Ayia Napa, saying he was physically and verbally abused in a racially-motivated encounter during the pandemic and further alleging he was denied access to a lawyer.

Jon Kan, a 34-year-old London-based data analyst originally from Hong Kong, says he was beaten up and verbally abused by police officers in Ayia Napa on 13 September 2021 while on a trip with friends to the resort town in Famagusta district.

The young man recently told British media he was targeted by local police due to his ethnicity, saying the situation quickly escalated after he talked back to police officers who made racially-motivated remarks about COVID and being Chinese.

According to the Daily Mail, Kan said the officers initially made fun of the clothes he was wearing and asked him where he was from, with the young data analyst saying he was from London.

“Where are you really from? You don't look British,” the officers persisted, according to Kan.

But he says after he revealed he was born in Hong Kong, the officers proceeded to make racial remarks, saying “so you're Chinese, so you brought COVID into this country?”

 

The doubly-vaccinated tourist said he told the officers that their remark was racist and he should file a complaint, adding the situation at that precise moment escalated very quickly.

“I got tied up by the police with cable tie, put in a car and driven to the middle of nowhere, being pushed and beaten up for hours,” Kan wrote on his GoFundMe page.

Kan says he was feeling pain when they were holding him very tight by the arms while he also thought his citing of EU regulations made the officers deal with him more strongly when they even threatened to kill him. He was then placed in a jail that was very dirty, according to media reports.

“After being held for more than 8 hours, they drove me to the court and forced me to make a confession without legal representatives. They made me pay a fine and said I would be put in jail if I did not do so,” Kan said.

There was no official report of the incident but Kan said the following day on his way to court, he was first driven to Famagusta General Hospital for a rapid test despite there being no such requirement at the time for jabbed tourists.

According to local media, Famagusta police spokesman Steve Theodoulou said the department was looking into the incident and allegations, pointing out no complaint had been filed while Kan was in Cyprus.

Theodoulou went on to say that Kan was arrested for public drunkenness and for cursing at a police officer.

“They said I was posing a threat to the public by assaulting police, not wearing a mask in public, drinking in public, everyone is drinking in public, it's Ayia Napa,” the young tourist said.

Kan also says he got out of Cyprus safely with help from the British embassy while a local lawyer he had then hired and paid €3500 ended up withdrawing from the case after Kan refused to shell out more cash.

“The lawyer did not speak very good English. He initially told me that the case was accepted and they would pay for my compensation. However, he just charged me legal fees but then ceased representing me in January 2022, citing the court did not proceed with the case,” he wrote on his GoFundMe page.

Kan is now seeking financial donations online and he has reached out to Justice Abroad, an organization that helps tourists who get into legal trouble abroad.

The J.A. network has famously represented a British young woman who was wrongly accused by Ayia Napa investigators of lying to police about a gang rape in the resort town in 2019. The teen had also argued she was forced to sign a fake confession after hours of late night interrogation in detention without access to a lawyer.

“This problem in Cyprus is accentuated by the fact that the Police in Cyprus do not wear body worn cameras, there is no recording of anything which happens in Police cars or even the Police station, and there is not even a proper record system for noting the time of arrests of individuals and the reason for arrest,” Justice Abroad was quoted as saying in a news article about Kan.

Kan, who says he needs money to cover legal bills, told media he was suffering emotionally from the incident, adding this has affected his life and source of income as he had to miss work after the ordeal.

“It's not right what they've done. They've just got completely away with it. I just don't feel like myself anymore,” he told the Daily Mail.

Theodoulou said they would look into the matter and issue an official police report on the incident, adding that the officers involved would give their depositions so that the department can respond to the complaint.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Ayia Napa  |  United Kingdom  |  London  |  Hong Kong  |  Chinese  |  racial profiling  |  pandemic  |  COVID  |  police abuse  |  arrest  |  tourist  |  Justice Abroad

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