The deputy commissioner of police for operations, Tang Ping-keung, dismissed on Wednesday allegations that the force had ordered officers “shoot to kill” when handling anti-government protesters.
The police had come under criticism after an officer shot an 18-year-old protester in Tsuen Wan on Tuesday.
Video footage seems to show the form five pupil, together with a group of protesters, chased and attacked a police officer before he was shot by another officer.
Tang said the officer firing the live bullet didn't intend to kill. But the shooting was in line with the force's regulations as well as the global standards, to shoot the centre mass of a suspect's body in an attempt to stop further violence during when the officer felt his life has been threatened, he said.
“It’s very clear in our order that when our lives are being threatened, we have to use appropriate level of force and we can use our firearms to stop such threats. There’s no such order to shoot to kill,” Tang said.
Senior superintendent of operations, Wong Wai-shun, said firing a live round was the most effective way to stop protesters’ “lethal acts” at that time.
“A group of people attacking a police officer with weapons, with a hammer.. if they’re not stopped immediately, how can the officer’s life be protected?” he asked.
The officers said a total of 269 people were arrested during anti-government protests at various districts across the city on Tuesday. They’re aged between 12 and 71.
Thirty police officers were injured. Police said five of them are still in hospital, including two who were splashed with corrosive liquid by protesters in Tuen Mun.