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Heightened alert making police edgy, says Carrie Lam

2020-03-10 HKT 12:02
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  • Heightened alert making police edgy, says Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has called for "understanding and tolerance" over police shoving people over during protests, explaining that officers are operating on "heightened alertness" due to all the "explosives finds" they have made recently.

Lam was responding to a question regarding an officer knocking over a Cable TV reporter with his shield in Tseung Kwan O on Sunday night.

Before going into Tuesday's Executive Council meeting, Lam was asked whether she thinks the force should identify the officer involved and investigate the incident.

Lam said she was aware that the force has written to Cable TV to apologise and had stressed that the officer's action was not deliberate.

"In an chaotic scene, officers need to enforce the law and disperse the crowd... [they] cannot plan everything ahead in a split second... I hope that that they would get understanding from the public," she said.

The CE said the police have long been a "civilised" force, as she also suggested that officers are feeling stressed due to a fear of bomb attacks during protests.

"This leads to officers being more alert while working on the frontline and subsequently leads to the pushing incidents that people don't want to see... I hope that the public can understand," she said.

Despite defending the force, Lam added that she believes its management understands there are public concerns about the Cable TV reporter incident and would look into what happened seriously.

Sunday's protests in Tseung Kwan O and Tai Po also saw police deliberately pepper spray frontline reporters – something that is now a regular occurrence at demonstrations – while some journalists were also held at the side of the road for ID checks, preventing them from working.