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Hong Kong police in the teeth of the storm

(People's Daily Online)    14:05, August 27, 2019

Hong Kong citizens send supplies, cards and cartoons to the police on Aug. 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu)

Unlawful assemblies and violent protests which have lasted for over two months in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) have put Hong Kong police in the teeth of the storm.

By the end of this July, the Hong Kong Police Force had a total of more than 30,000 regular and auxiliary police officers, and over 4,000 civilian staff. Since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, the Hong Kong Police Force has been hailed as one of the world’s most professional police forces.

Since June, radical protesters in Hong Kong have spared no effort to smear the police and instigate hatred towards police officers.

As various news reports have shown, the weapons and equipment of the radical protesters in Hong Kong have continuously been upgraded, with dangerous chemicals included. This July, police officers found highly explosive TATP, petrol bombs, and knives in Lung Shing Factory building on Texaco Road in Tsuen Wan, a town in the Western New Territories of Hong Kong.

The weapons radical protesters carry with them have become increasingly dangerous, noted front line police, disclosing that the radicals’ weapons range from stones, iron rods and slingshots to umbrellas with daggers tied to the end, severely threatening the lives of police officers at the scene.

On Aug. 18, a spokesman of the Hong Kong SAR government issued a statement expressing sincere regret for some groups holding assembly with slogans targeting the Hong Kong police.

Over the last two months, police stations across the city have seen 75 separate vandalism attacks, while about 180 police officers have been attacked or injured, said the spokesman.

Chief Superintendent David Jordan, a British man who has served with the Hong Kong police force for over 20 years, said that the current situation in Hong Kong is the most dangerous that he has faced since he joined. He noted a particular example when more than 100 protesters surrounded a single policeman.

On the evening of Aug. 13, a police officer was crowded into a corner of the airport and brutally beaten by radical protesters. With his life being seriously threatened, he had to point a gun at the radicals to save his life.

Even civilian staff of the police force have been hurt during the riots. According to a police officer in the Police Public Relations Bureau, he is in charge of media contact and was once hit in the waist by a brick thrown by protesters.

On Aug. 19, Hong Kong police issued a statement responding to accusations of excessive use of force, saying that police officers have exercised “restraint, tolerance and patience”, and “Only when there were violent acts or illegal behaviours which endangered the safety of people at the scene, [officers] would stop them by proportionate use of force to prevent the incidents from heating up and worsening”.

Dr. Willy Fu, a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Education Association, and also a former senior inspector of police, told People’s Daily that the high-standard law enforcement of police officers at the scene made him “both proud and sad.”

Fu said the police have exercised restraint and tolerance at all times, and only used the minimum force needed to prevent incidents at the scene.

Fu instanced that once a radical protester threw highly corrosive drain cleaner at police officers, but accidentally injured herself. The police officers at the scene, though abused by the woman, immediately provided her with aid. “Such action is admirable,” said Fu.

Hong Kong citizens have seen these events. A few days ago, a statement released with the signature of “Hong Kong citizens who are no longer silent” pointed out that in the face of irrational, violent acts, the police have been swallowing humiliation and bearing responsibility while trying to maintain public order.

Those who accused the police of abuse of force are calling white black, said Elizabeth Quat, a lawmaker of the Legislative Council, saying the truth was that radicals blocked the roads and attacked, threw things at, and besieged police officers first, and the police officers just used appropriate force to stop the violence and restore social order. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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