A Hong Kong rapper who created one of the anthems of the city's protest movement has accused police of targeting members of ethnic minority groups as the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality continues to gain momentum around the world.
Yuri Tomiyama, the 26-year-old rapper known as Txmiyama, took to Instagram on Monday to describe a shocking encounter with police that started with a call for help by several Pakistani friends frustrated by Uber and taxi drivers turning them down, and ended with the entire group detained, racially abused and threatened with guns.
Tomiyama, who was born in Canada to Japanese parents and moved to Hong Kong at the age of 12, posted: "Growing up with brown people, I saw a fair share of racism but what ensued was the worst I seen first-hand in Hong Kong."
Around 30 police responded to the Pakistani men's call at around at 5.30am on Sunday in Central on Hong Kong Island, Tomiyama writes, and after they allowed the drivers to leave, the men were forced against a wall and asked to produce their ID cards.
"They have all my Pakistani homies up against the wall like criminals, asking for ID and treating them like s*** even though they speak perfect Cantonese. It was one of the guys' birthday and he just wanted to go home. Him and two others get handcuffed and charged with assault. They only got bail in the morning. The sad part is I think they're used to this ...."
Tomiyama says officers then asked him and a Filipino friend if they knew the Pakistani men. When they said they did, they were ordered to sit down and subjected to a torrent of racial abuse. An officer told the Filipino "to go back to his mother country ...," the rapper claims.
After this taunting, he writes, they let everybody go. "Then they decide to pick on me," he says.
He claims that an officer, upon being told that Tomiyama was Japanese and did not understand what he was saying, said in English: "You want to f*** with Hong Kong's security law? You're Japanese? Do you know where you are? Go back to your mother country ... your kind doesn't belong here."
Tomiyama writes that an officer then pulled out his gun. Officers surrounded him and pushed his friends away, he claims. "I thought I was going to die," he writes.
"I had a gun on me. In Hong Kong. For doing nothing but being with my brown friends. My mind went blank. I really thought this was it for me."
Then, the rapper says, his head was pressed against a wall and the officer said quietly: "You're lucky there are so many people around or I'd kill you ... You f***ing Japanese people don't belong here, this is Hong Kong."
"I begged for my life," Tomiyama writes. "I don't know how many times I said please." Eventually he was let go, he writes.
"I have seen a fair share of s*** in my 26 years. I've seen death. I've seen the worst of drugs. I got friends inside. I thought nothing could faze me any more. This shook me. Worst part about it is, people of colour go through this ... every day."
The Post has asked the Hong Kong Police Force to respond to the allegations.
Tomiyama told the South China Morning Post he did not want to be interviewed about the incident.
"I won't be taking this incident any further. I can't even walk past police on the street any more without having a panic attack. Some of the responses I've got are disgusting and the last thing I want is more attention or scrutiny, either from police or these internet people. They really don't get how traumatised I am after this."