Following is a statement by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in response to false claims about Police actions in Mong Kok on the night of October 3:
"I want to talk about the incident in Mong Kok yesterday where some people were hurt when it was very chaotic.
"Police acted swiftly to separate the two parties and made a passageway to escort those in need or injured to leave the scene.
"During the process, some Police were also injured. Later, there were more conflicts in different locations. So, Police had practical difficulties handling each and every conflict site.
"Due to the serious blockage of roads caused by protesters in Tamar, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok the Police response was severely hindered. Some Police officers even had to take the MTR to reach the scene as Police vehicles could not reach the area.
"We hope that the public can understand that the Police priority was to resolve the conflict at the scene.
"Regarding the violence, the Government condemns it in the strongest possible terms.
"Last night, Police arrested 19 people for fighting and assault. The Police will definitely pursue these cases according to the law.
"The Police officers at the scene tried their best to handle the situation under chaotic conditions and to maintain order in an impartial way.
"I note that some people have claimed that the Government allowed triads or even worked with triads. These allegations are totally untrue, unfounded and beyond belief.
"They are also highly unreasonable and extremely unfair to the Police officers who faithfully carried out their duty.
"Anti-triad work is a top priority of the Police Force. Among those arrested yesterday were 8 people with a triad background
"I want to reiterate that Police will continue to deliver their duties professionally, impartially and will not show favor to any person or group.
"As we can see on TV, the Police did their best to help those people who were willing to leave, to separate the crowds and to protect those who fell to the ground and wanted to leave. Among the injured was a Woman Police officer who used her hands to protect two people as she escorted them from the area.
"All this shows that the Police tried their very best to protect the people at the scene and arrest a number of people.
"And I can tell you that the Government fully supports the Police to handle all these difficulties in a highly professional way."
Ends/Saturday, October 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:16