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Police PR campaign attracts a volley of barbs

2019-12-12 HKT 19:32
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  • The second image shared on the police's social media platforms mimicked a recent controversial art project by an Italian artist.
    The second image shared on the police's social media platforms mimicked a recent controversial art project by an Italian artist.
The Hong Kong police on Thursday appeared to have embarked on a social media campaign to improve their image – but while the responses were peppered with some encouragement, they mostly evoked a volley of angry comments, indicating the force still has a lot more work to do.

The first message shared by the police on their official Facebook page and Twitter account showed a police officer in full riot gear sitting on a traffic island as he ate a meal out of a container with the words “any personal discomfort will not deter our officers from safeguarding Hong Kong".

The Facebook post attracted more than 12,000 comments in just over three hours. The post also got 6,000 "likes" but there were double the amount of "angry faces", with over 12,000.

A quick run through the comments also seem to reflect a similar pattern, with angry comments outnumbering the messages of support.

"Did you know some workers are too busy to have a meal? You are not the most miserable, a lot of people are more miserable than you!", said one user.

"Cleaners can eat their lunch in the toilet! What more do you want when you can eat by the street?" asked another.

But some users backed the police, who have been criticised for their tactics and actions in handling the current anti-government protest, "Hong Kong police, we all owe you so much! Thank you!", said one message.

The lunchbox image was followed by a more artistic social media post two hours later, which showed a tear gas canister taped to a wall with duct tape.

The image, obviously inspired by a controversial recent work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, also attracted lot of comments on Twitter and Facebook.

"Say no to violence. Let’s leave the tear gas cartridge on the wall forever," read the image’s caption.

On Twitter, images depicting controversial actions by officers and memes making fun of police claims were used in response to the police’s post.

"You don't want to use tear gas? The front-line officers are firing tear gas arbitrarily, even when there is no one!", said one user on Facebook.

Some mocked the attempt to copy the controversial art project. "Someone ate the banana as an art performance. Are you going to learn from him and eat the tear canister?", asked one person.