Police have warned the public not to test their determination to enforce the law on June 4, adding that even going alone to Victoria Park could end in an arrest for unlawful assembly, if someone is deemed to be there with a common purpose to express certain views.
Authorities banned June 4 gatherings at the park in 2020 and 2021, citing Covid concerns, and the force says it has yet to receive any applications for a gathering there this Saturday.
But senior superintendent Liauw Ka-kei on Thursday said police are still concerned about potential illegal activities in the vicinity of the park.
He warned people not to make appeals online for others to gather in Causeway Bay, adding that the force will be deploying sufficient manpower to deal with any situations that arise.
Asked by reporters whether officers could seal off Victoria Park – as they did last year – Liauw said the force is still assessing the situation.
"I must say that whatever police actions [we are] going to take, including police presence in the vicinity, as well as doing some control measures at Victoria Park, all our objectives are back to the basic – to maintain public order and public safety," he said.
"And also, if we could prevent the unlawful, unauthorised assemblies from happening, it would be the best approach, instead of making arrests or making strict enforcement actions. This is not what we hope for."
The senior superintendent was asked whether it would be illegal for people to wear black clothes in the vicinity of Victoria Park, or light candles in the area.
In reply, he said it is totally fine for people to be at the park for leisure purposes, but nobody should test the law.
"Even if you are alone and coming to Victoria Park, according to the law I must stress that if you are staying with a group of people at the same place, at the same time and with a common purpose to express certain views, it is already meeting the definition of a meeting. And depending on the number of persons at the scene, that may contravene offences, including [taking part in] unauthorised assemblies," Liauw said.
"Really try not to test the boundaries, as well as testing the determination or our commitment in enforcing the law in this operation."