The Hong Kong police force's PR chief has defended a clearance operation in Taikoo's Cityplaza mall on Sunday, saying police had to step in as the demonstration would have put shoppers at risk of infection.
Speaking on an RTHK programme on Tuesday morning, chief superintendent Kwok Ka-chuen said it was clear that people had gathered there for a common purpose.
Kwok said the aim of the operation was to avoid unnecessary gathering during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the demonstration would have put other people at risk of catching Covid-19.
Police have to balance the rights of everyone, not just the rights of protesters, he said.
The chief superintendent said officers had only issued warnings, and that no arrests were made or anyone fined for violating the gathering ban.
Kwok added that people "shouldn't lie to themselves", and it was clear that hundreds of people had gathered in the mall for the same reason, and that was to protest.
On Sunday evening, dozens of riot police arrived at the upscale mall to disperse a crowd of people who gathered for a "sing-with-you" protest.
The operation sparked accusations that the police force is using the social distancing regulations to quell protests.
Taikoo protest put people at infection risk: police
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