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Opposition slams police tactics, mall operation

2019-07-15 HKT 17:08
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  • Opposition slams police tactics, mall operation
Pan-democrats have criticised the police tactics used in Sha Tin on Sunday night, questioning why riot police rounded up protesters and moved into a private shopping mall where shoppers and families were around enjoying their weekend.

The camp's convenor, Claudia Mo, rejected Police Commissioner Stephen Lo's explanation on his force's operations, calling them "a pack of jokes".

"This police tactic of surrounding the protesters in the name of dispersing them, and creating more hostile sentiments on the spot, is totally unnecessary," she said.

Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting also called on senior police officers to reconsider using such tactics.

Lam, who was at one of the protest spots, said he had tried but failed to get an answer from police on what route protesters can take to leave. He said may exits were closed and roads were blocked.

He said even during the 1967 riots, police operations had provided a route for protesters to leave.

Another lawmaker who was present in Sha Tin on Sunday night, Alvin Yeung, said the police owe the public an explanation on what basis they concluded that there were unlawful activities inside New Town Plaza that warranted riot police in full gear to move in.

He added that even if the police had decided that there was a major crime in the mall, they should have prevented anyone from going in and given sufficient time for unrelated people inside to leave safely.

He said the riot police were chasing people like a pack of wolves, pepper-spraying and beating them indiscriminately.

He questioned if police felt their operation in New Town Plaza was appropriate by comparing it to the storming of Legco on July 1. On that day, officers decided to pull out, saying it's dangerous to use force in a confined space.