Eleven arrested over 'riot-related offences' - RTHK
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Eleven arrested over 'riot-related offences'

2019-06-13 HKT 18:24
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  • Eleven arrested over 'riot-related offences'
  • Police Commissioner Stephen Lo says he's sorry if some of his officers were impolite towards journalists, but they had been working long hours. Photo: RTHK
    Police Commissioner Stephen Lo says he's sorry if some of his officers were impolite towards journalists, but they had been working long hours. Photo: RTHK
Stephen Lo
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo says 11 people have been arrested so far over Wednesday's violent clashes around Legco for "riot-related offences", including disorder, illegal assembly and assaulting police.

Lo confirmed reports that some of those arrested were people receiving treatment in hospital for injuries they had suffered when police cleared the protests using rubber bullets and teargas.

He said officers will always seek to arrest crime suspects no matter where they are.

Lo said his officers had been "restrained and tolerant" on Wednesday, noting that the situation had originally been relatively peaceful for several hours.

The police chief said this all changed at around 3pm because officers were attacked with bricks, metal poles and planks of wood, and the force had no choice but to escalate its response to the protest.

Lo said 22 of his officers had been injured in the clashes, in which more than 150 rounds of tear gas were fired, along with "several" rubber bullets and about 20 bean bag rounds.

The police commissioner said the level of force used during the protest was appropriate, but a review will be carried out into certain aspects, for example how close officers were to protesters when they fired their weapons, and whether they were aiming in an appropriate direction.

There had been reports that some protesters were hit in the head by the projectiles. More than 80 people sought treatment at Accident and Emergency Departments.

Lo also said there were definitely no plans "at the moment" to seek assistance from the People's Liberation Army to keep order in Hong Kong.

"We have sufficient manpower, sufficient force to contain the situation and maintain Hong Kong as a lawful and peaceful society," he said.

Reporters and photographers wore their high-visibility press vests and safety helmets at Lo's press conference in protest over the force used against journalists covering Wednesday's clashes.

There had been claims that officers deliberately targeted journalists when firing their weapons and some had also verbally abused media workers covering the protest. An RTHK driver was seriously hurt during the clashes on Tim Mei Avenue with his heart stopping for a short time after he was hit by a tear gas round.

Lo said he was sorry if some officers had been impolite towards journalists. But he said people should take into consideration that his officers had been working long hours.

Before the press conference, around a dozen members of the Democratic Party staged a demonstration outside police headquarters in Wan Chai, accusing officers of using excessive force to suppress Wednesday's protest.

Lawmaker Andrew Wan said the use of rubber bullets and bean bags against unarmed protesters was unacceptable.

Wan said he and his colleagues Lam Cheuk-ting and Helena Wong were hit by pepper spray as they urged police officers not to use excessive force. He said the party will sue the "cruel" police force for its actions, and will make a complaint to the United Nations' Committee Against Torture.