• Switzerland's news in English

Expat British cyclist 'beaten' by Basel police

Malcolm Curtis · 26 Aug 2013, 18:23

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available