HK police un­der un­fair pres­sure

Clashes more vi­o­lent than in 2014: ex-se­cu­rity head

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Fan Lingzhi in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong police are bear­ing un­prece­dented pres­sure as vi­o­lent protests in the city con­tinue and the op­po­si­tion forces de­nounce them by hyp­ing gang at­tacks in Yuen Long, said a mem­ber of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (Legco) of Hong Kong and a for­mer sec­re­tary for se­cu­rity.

Vi­o­lent protests have spread across the city af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of an ex­tra­di­tion bill that would have al­lowed some crim­i­nal sus­pects to be taken from Hong Kong to the Chi­nese main­land for trial.

Dur­ing an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Global Times, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, the first woman to be ap­pointed sec­re­tary for se­cu­rity to head the dis­ci­plinary ser­vice and now chair­per­son of the New Peo­ple’s Party, said that for more than a month, the Hong Kong police have borne enor­mous pres­sure and were treated un­fairly.

Ip as­serted that since July 1 when pro­test­ers stormed Legco, the demon­stra­tions by op­po­si­tion forces have vi­o­lated the law.

“Legco rep­re­sents the power of the government of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion. The pro­test­ers scrapped the Ba­sic Law and cov­ered the Hong Kong em­blem with a Bri­tish colo­nial flag, which is a chal­lenge to the ‘one coun­try, two sys­tems’ and China’s sovereignt­y,” she said.

The ri­ot­ers “just tested the wa­ter” by be­sieg­ing the li­ai­son of­fice of the cen­tral government and de­fac­ing the na­tional em­blem on Sun­day evening, Ip noted.

The for­mer sec­re­tary of se­cu­rity said she had thought that af­ter Legco, the next tar­get of the pro­test­ers would be the li­ai­son of­fice, but they dare not go to the gar­ri­son of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) in Hong Kong.

The ri­ot­ers’ ac­tion has wor­ried Hong Kong res­i­dents, Ip said, not­ing the cen­tral government has been “re­strained” by not mo­bi­liz­ing the PLA on Hong Kong and leav­ing the onus largely with the Hong Kong police force.

“The police force of Hong Kong, with only 30,000 per­son­nel, is lim­ited. Only a few have re­ceived anti-riot train­ing,” Ip told the Global Times.

“The on­go­ing clashes are much longer and more vi­o­lent than what we ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing the Oc­cupy Cen­tral move­ment in 2014, and the Hong Kong police have never faced such a sit­u­a­tion,” ac­cord­ing to Ip.

Some of the ri­ot­ers were well or­ga­nized and in­tended on sab­o­tage, Ip said, not­ing that they planned routes and pro­vided weapons such as um­brel­las and bricks.

Ip also re­futed crit­i­cism of police for fir­ing tear gas at pro­test­ers. Tear gas avoids phys­i­cal con­fronta­tion and is used world­wide, Ip noted.

“The police de­cide what to use ac­cord­ing to the sit­u­a­tion, such as what pro­test­ers use and the num­ber of pro­test­ers. The warn­ing flags used by the police are civ­i­lized means. But in the US, the police can fire shots at will,” Ip said.

The Hong Kong police force has been treated un­fairly de­spite their ef­forts, partly be­cause of some of the local me­dia’s par­tial­ity to­ward the pro­test­ers, she in­sisted.

Af­ter the per­sonal de­tails of some Hong Kong police of­fi­cers were leaked on­line, their chil­dren were bul­lied, ac­cord­ing to a news re­port on the Sin­ga­pore-based CNA news web­site.

It said their wives wor­ried that food de­liv­er­ies could be poi­soned.

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