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Hong Kong Leader To Talk With Student Protesters Amid Anger Over Police Brutality

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he was willing to talk to pro-democracy protesters after police officers were caught beating a protester on camera.

Posted on October 16, 2014, at 10:07 a.m. ET

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Thursday he was prepared to talk to student protesters amid outrage over footage of police beating activist Ken Tsang.

Protester Ken Tsang being led off by police officers before being beaten.

Stringer/Hongkong / Reuters

Screen grab from footage of police officers beating Ken Tsnag while his hands were tied.

Leung said the government was willing to start a dialogue with the student protesters as early as next week, the Associated Press reported.

Lam Yik Fei / Getty Images

The offer came as the Occupy Central protesters were outraged after the group of police officers kicked and punched 39-year-old Tsang, a member of a local pro-democracy political party, on Wednesday.

Stringer/Hongkong / Reuters

Seven police officers allegedly involved in the beating were suspended, but some reports said they were reassigned to different positions.

(AP Photo/Apple Daily)

Ken Tsang is carried by plainclothes police officers after a clash between protesters and police in an occupied area near the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

During Wednesday's incident, hundreds of police officers used pepper spray on pro-democracy protesters to clear a road near the government headquarters. The clashes were the worst in over a week, heightening tensions between the two sides.

Carlos Barria / Reuters
Carlos Barria / Reuters

"Going forward, we cannot allow the occupying of streets to have a negative impact on Hong Kong society," Leung told reporters Thursday. "Police will use appropriate methods to deal with this problem."

ALEX OGLE/AFP / Getty Images

After the government called off talks last week when protesters refused to end the Occupy movement, Leung said he was willing to start a dialogue next week as long as students were "prepared to focus on the issue."

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Leung Chun-ying

Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

In a statement, Occupy Central leaders said they "strongly condemned" police for abusing their power but called for protesters to show "understand and sympathy" towards peaceful officers doing their duty.

New #OccupyHK press release: 'Don't forget our original intention':

Tom Grundy@tomgrundyFollow

New #OccupyHK press release: 'Don't forget our original intention':

9:57 AM - 16 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite