The Police Commissioner, Chris Tang, said on Saturday officers would crackdown on violent acts during protests, but adopt a flexible attitude while dealing with minor breaches like people straying on to the roads.
Speaking during his first official visit to Beijing since being appointed to the top job last month, Tang said police will use what he described as both "hard and soft approaches" in dealing with the protesters.
"We will not tolerate actions such as the throwing of petrol bombs, attacks on civilians and the starting of fires. However, when dealing with other circumstances like people straying into the roads, we’ll be flexible,” he said.
He thanked the mainland officials for what he called their unwavering support for Hong Kong police.
Tang met the secretary of Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, Guo Shengkun, public security minister, Zhao Kezhi, and director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Zhang Xiaoming.
Tang said he reported to the mainland officials about the latest situation in Hong Kong and police’s strategy in dealing with the demonstrations.
“I told them Hong Kong police would take both hard and soft approaches, meaning officers would not back off when faced with violence," said Tang.
He said the party offered full support to the police in containing the violence. But he parried away a question about the recent change in Hong Kong police's motto to "Serving Hong Kong with honour, duty and loyalty", meant loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.
He said the loyalty was to maintain the security of Hong Kong people, the government and the police.