• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Expat British cyclist 'beaten' by Basel police

Malcolm Curtis · 26 Aug 2013, 18:23

Published: 26 Aug 2013 18:23 GMT+02:00

Hui, 31, suffered cuts and bruises to his face and a broken tooth after Basel police arrested him last Thursday night for riding a bike without cable brakes.

Now, he told The Local in an interview on Monday, he is seeking advice on filing a complaint after suffering what he called “brutality, violence and humiliation” at the hands of two city police officers.

Hui was pedalling at around 7.15pm on his custom-built, fixed gear, single-speed bicycle to the Schaulager Museum, where he was to meet his wife to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

The British citizen, born in Hong Kong but educated at university in Scotland, never reached the museum and ended up in hospital instead.

According to his account, he cycled along the Viaduct bridge toward Basel’s Markthalle when he noticed a policeman stepping out of an unmarked brown van.

Realizing that he was riding a bike not permitted in Basel because it does not have regular brakes and that he could face a “heavy fine”, Hui said he “panicked and made a U-turn”.

Police followed in the van with a siren blaring, he said.

Hui said he changed direction four more times, ignoring the calls of officers to stop.

“Then they pepper-sprayed me and I was still on my bike when they tackled me to the ground,” he told The Local.

The slightly built architect — he weighs around 60 kilograms — lost part of a tooth during the arrest.

“It could have been the impact of the fall or when they handcuffed me,” Hui said.

“I also received punches to the face.”

Hui denied the reported contention of police that he was resisting arrest and that he was injured when he fell from his bike.

“From the time I was pepper-sprayed I did not do anything to get away,” he said.

Other officers confiscated Hui’s bicycle and as he was driven to the hospital the men who beat him up played “loud heavy metal music”.

When they arrived at the hospital, Hui said he was denied the right to make a telephone call.


All but one of the officers involved removed the name tabs fastened to their uniforms with velcro, he added.

Hui has lived in Basel for seven years and said he likes the city.

But he is disappointed by the way police acted.

“From my friends I have heard similar stories,” he said.

“To my mind they are not very friendly or gentlemanly.”

He acknowledged that language was a barrier, since the officers spoke little English and gave out orders in Swiss-German, which he could not understand.

Story continues below…

Basel police initially had no comment on the incident, which has been picked up by local media.

“In terms of the reaction, it’s very divided,” Hui said.

“There are also some very intelligent people who understand my part of the story.”

Hui said he has yet to hear from police as to whether he will be charged or fined.

But he added: “I hope others can learn from this and that something good can come from this bad story.”

Photo submitted by Hui shows tooth he claims was broken by Basel police

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Foreigners in Switzerland surpass 2 million mark
International flags outside the UN in Geneva. Photo: Martial Trezzini/AFP

For the first time, there are now more than two million foreigners living in Switzerland.

Geneva runs out of permits for non-EU workers
File photo: The Local

Canton complains to the federal government after it reduced the number of permits available to third state workers.

Scorchio! Late August heat breaks record in Geneva
Lake Geneva on Thursday. Photo: The Local

The mercury in Geneva hit 33.3 degrees, a record for the final week in August.

US and Russia meet in Geneva for Syria talks
John Kerry with UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva on Thursday for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
A fireman stands in the Italian village of Amatrice, which was badly hit by this week's earthquake. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The canton of Valais is particularly at risk.

Aggressive deer put down after attacking four in Geneva
File photo: Michal Kosacky

The buck attacked four people in the same area over the course of 48 hours.

Navigation error ends badly for Basel driver

A man accidentally drove his car down a flight of steps after his passenger directed him the wrong way.

Blatter 'confident' as he faces Swiss sports court
Sepp Blatter. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Former Fifa boss Sepp Blatter is back in court on Thursday as he seeks to overturn a six-year ban from football.

Federer teams up with Nadal for new tennis tournament
Federer and Nadal at the Laver Cup launch with Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images North America/AFP

The duo will play doubles together in a new competition pitting Europe against the rest of the world in a tennis team event.

Geneva advises teachers on religion in school
File photo: C Carlstead

The secular canton of Geneva has issued guidelines for teachers on how to deal with religious issues in the classroom.

Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Starship
Technology
Swiss Post trials robot parcel deliveries in Bern
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP
Politics
Survey: Swiss optimistic about Brexit effect
Photo: Neil Heritage/Endeavour Fund
Features
Amputee's Matterhorn trek 'makes it more possible' for others
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: EPFL
International
Switzerland tops global innovation table – again
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Photo: Vasily Cotovanu
National
Asylum centre plans shelved after Swiss village protests
Photo: The Local
Politics
Neuchâtel looks to boost rights for foreigners
Photo: AFP
Sport
In pictures: final day success takes Swiss to seven medals
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: AFP
National
Experts debate rail security following Swiss train attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
File photo: AFP
Sport
Two basejumpers die in Lauterbrunnen accidents
Photo: AFP
International
Amnesty fears for child migrants at Italian border
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Photo: AXA Winterthur
National
Report: Geneva is Swiss capital of car theft
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP
National
Top tips for watching the meteor shower in Switzerland
File photo: Andrew Turner
Technology
Swiss start-up to offer drone service to farmers
Photo: Beat Strasser
National
British quadruple amputee summits Matterhorn
Photo: Judit Klein
National
Switzerland sees rise in child victims of forced marriage
Photo: Michael Schlick/OS Muhr
National
Swiss hiker in Austria rescued after sending SOS to America
Photo: Chris Murphy
Features
14 mistakes foreigners make on moving to Switzerland
Photo: AFP
Lifestyle
Swiss resort unveils huge ‘natural’ fresco on mountain
Photo: C Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism
National
Five great Swiss traditions all expats should try
Photo: AFP
National
Confirmed cases of Zika virus soar in Switzerland
Photo: eGuide Travel
National
Prison for woman who faked Swiss airport bomb threat
Photo: AFP
Technology
Swiss solar plane completes epic round-the-world trip
4,574
jobs available