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Over 1,000 cans of tear gas fired so far: police

2019-08-05 HKT 17:40
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  • Over 1,000 cans of tear gas fired so far: police
Police said on Monday that since anti-extradition protests began on June 9, officers have fired more than 1,000 cannisters of tear gas, 160 rounds of rubber bullets, and 150 sponge grenades on protesters, but maintained that the level of force use is “appropriate”.

At a press conference held on Monday afternoon, officers also revealed that more than 420 people have been arrested so far, in connection with offences like unlawful assembly, rioting, assaulting police and possessing offensive weapons.

Acting Chief Superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB), Yolanda Yu, said protesters are resorting to increasing violence and there's a need to take resolute action against them.

“We are aware that on some online platforms, netizens propagated terrorist acts, violent acts, possession of short knives for hurting or even murdering police officers. Such online comments were deeply worrying and must not be supported or promoted,” she said.

A Senior Superintendent of the PPRB, Kong Wing-cheung, was asked if the force would escalate the level of violence it uses against protesters.

“The Hong Kong police force actually has very strict guidelines on the use of force. And I would describe that we are ‘responsive’ in the use of force,” he explained.

“If the protester use a certain level of violence against the officer, then we will use the appropriate level of force. But, I could assure you that we are only intended to use the minimum level of force to control any kind of disturbances or disorder situations,” he said.

Responding to criticism of officers firing tear gas near residential areas, Kong said they had no choice but to do so, adding officers had been "extremely restrained" and would make warnings before action was taken.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam had announced earlier during the day that the police will now give a daily media briefing on its handling of anti-extradition protests.

However, despite mounting anger against the police over allegations of its abuse of power, Lam again rejected the idea of setting up an independent inquiry to look into the matter.